Floyd, Carlisle

Floyd, Carlisle (Carlisle Sessions Floyd, Jr.), 1926–, American composer, b. Latta, S.C., grad. Syracuse Univ. (B.A., 1946; M.A., 1949). His reputation rests on his operas, for which he writes both music and libretto. Best known is his award-winning Susannah (1955), a dramatic folk opera with profound ethical implications that draws on his Southern background. Debuting in New York in 1956, it had become a classic by the time it was finally performed at the Metropolitan Opera in 1999. Floyd's style is generally conservative, melodic, and lyrical, though also increasingly complicated and eclectic. He has often based his plots on novels, including Wuthering Heights (1958) and Willie Stark (1982). Other operas include Bilby's Doll (1976), The Passion of Jonathan Wade (1962; rev. 1991), Cold Sassy Tree (2000), and Prince of Players (2016). Floyd also has written nonoperatic choral pieces, e.g., Citizen of Paradise (1993) and A Time to Dance (1994), and is a conductor and noted teacher.

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