Cold Sassy Tree, Carlisle Floyd's first crack at writing a comic opera, is taken from Olive Ann Burns' delightful exploration of youthful old age and set in an America affectionately drawn. As always, he has written his own libretto, drawing upon his own theatrical instincts that have been nourished simultaneously with his music. Like five of the six Floyd operas that preceded it, Cold Sassy Tree is about American attitudes, characters - and the joy of language. Like all the work the preceded it, the music is about expressive clarity, lyricism and the value of song. According to Daniel Webster, “Floyd writes popular opera. Not pandering opera, but theater pieces strapped tight with technical virtuosity, yet sounding innocent and natural…” Carlisle Floyd comments that “In dramatizing the book for the stage, there were two undergirding themes in particular from the novel that I wanted to deal with. First was the astonishing capacity human beings possess for change! and growth, and the second was the healing and transforming power of love. When the book first appeared one reviewer aptly described Ms. Burns' novel as the story of an old man growing young and a young man growing up and the woman who, without intending to, becomes the catalyst for both. This general description holds true, I hope, for the opera as well.” This recording represents a major addition to the opera discography.
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