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Cold Sassy Tree
A musical play in three acts Carlisle Floyd
Musica di Carlisle Floyd b.11 giugno 1926, Latta, South Carolina
Prima rappresentazione: 14/04/2000

Lightfoot McLendon
Love Simpson
Rucker Lattimore
Will Tweedy
Carlisle Floyd's new opera, Cold Sassy Tree, was premiered at Houston Grand Opera on 14 April, a first comic work by the composer to set alongside his darker-toned stageworks Susannah and Of Mice and Men which have in recent years been enjoying increased success in North America and new stagings in Europe. The premiere, conducted by Patrick Summers and staged by Bruce Beresford with Dean Peterson, Patricia Racette and John McVeigh in the principal roles, was a major celebratory occasion for Houston Grand Opera, being the company's 25th new opera nurtured during David Gockley's period of leadership. Cold Sassy Tree has an active future performance schedule guaranteed as it is a co-commission between Houston and the opera companies in San Diego, Baltimore, Austin and North Carolina.

"The inspiration for Cold Sassy Tree is a popular 1984 novel of that name by Olive Ann Burns. The title is the name of a small town in Georgia, the time 1900. A wealthy and eccentric businessman – called Rucker Lattimore in the opera – makes a marriage of convenience to a much younger woman named Love Simpson, just three weeks after his wife has died – much to the consternation of the gossipy locals, who shun the couple cruelly. They fall in love, however, and when Rucker is shot and killed by robbers in his store, we (and the townsfolk) learn that Love is pregnant with his child... Floyd is a very good composer. He knows his craft, he writes beautifully and idiomatically for the voice, and he has a good sense of theatre..." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"American composer Carlisle Floyd is the most popular English-language opera composer of our generation... Now, at 73, the indefatigable Floyd is breaking new ground with Cold Sassy Tree, his first attempt at a comedy, which showcases his musical gifts... His composing is richly melodic, stylistically inventive, always accessible... Floyd is a born storyteller... one must recognise Floyd's musical genius." Houston Globe and Mail

"The score boasts passages of radiant, lyrical beauty, including a striking number of self-contained arias... But what lingers in the listener's imagination is not so much the musical specifics as the opera's overall dramatic mastery – the efficiency and cunning with which Floyd shapes this tale of the American South. In three acts spanning more than three hours and encompassing comedy and pathos, group dynamics and individual emotion, he never puts a foot wrong or misjudges a dramatic emphasis . Each scene plays out with unerring focus, and the work as a whole moves confidently through its entire arc. Never underestimate the benefits of a lifetime in the theatre... we may well have another American repertory staple on our hands." San Francisco Chronicle

"In Cold Sassy Tree Floyd has given American opera its true voice; here opera speaks with the authenticity heard in Copland's music of the war years. It is an extraordinary achievement." Opera Now Fonte: www.boosey.com

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