Philip Glass’ Walt Disney Opera to Premiere in Long Beach | Playbill

News Philip Glass’ Walt Disney Opera to Premiere in Long Beach Long Beach Opera will present the U.S. debut of the controversial work as part of its 2016-17 season.
Philip Glass
Steve Pyke

Philip Glass’ fictionalized biography of Walt Disney’s life, The Perfect American, is set to receive its American premiere at Long Beach Opera March 12 and 18, 2017.

The new work is Glass’ 25th opera and features a libretto by Rudy Wurlitzer, based on the controversial biographical novel, Der König von Amerika by Peter Stephan Jungk. The book imagines the final three months of the icon’s life, depicting him as a megalomaniac, racist and misogynist. Glass himself describes the final period of Disney’s life as “unimaginable, alarming and truly frightening.”

“A fictionalized account of Walt Disney's final days,” reads a description on the Long Beach Opera website. “He is haunted by his own mortality, boundless ambition, and visionary empire. There is more to this icon than simply making dreams come true. With appearances by Abraham Lincoln, Andy Warhol, and Disney's family, this whirlwind contemporary opera is a poetic and tragic story of the American Dream.”

The Perfect American was originally commissioned by New York City Opera in 2008, and the world premiere took place at the Teatro Real in Madrid in 2013. It is also slated to play the Chicago Opera Theater next April.

For more information on the Long Beach Opera season, visit

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