Sir Michael Tippett, composer of symphonies, concertos, chamber music and opera -- including The Midsummer Marriage (1955), today considered a masterpiece of 20th century opera -- has died at the age of 93.
The operas of Tippett, after those of Benjamin Britten, were the most important to emerge from England during the last half of the 20th century.
In addition to The Midsummer Marriage, which explores the inner development of a man and the woman he is about to marry, Tippett's operas include King Priam (1962), which is based on Homer's Iliadand which received a successful revival three seasons ago at English National Opera; The Knot Garden (1970), The Ice Break (1977) and New Year (1989).
Sir Michael's final composition, the lush symphonic work The Rose Lake, was given its world premiere three years ago by Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican Center; at the end of the enthusiastically received piece the composer, still-spry at the age of 90, bounded down the stairs of the auditorium in his customary canvas shoes and took an enthusiastic bow onstage with Maestro Davis.
-- By Rebecca Paller