Set to open the 2012-13 season at City Opera, the new Glass work will be titled The Perfect American. Based on Peter Stephan Jungk's novel "Der König von Amerika" or, "The Perfect American," the work depicts the final months of Disney's life.
For the novel, Jungk has created the fictional character Wilhelm Dantine, who supposedly worked for Disney in the 1940s and '50s. The work is said to explore Dantine's admiration and resentment toward Disney, as well as offering an image of the mid-20th-century American Dream.
Glass said in a statement, "The story of the last days of Walt Disney, American Icon and creator of perhaps the most pervasive fantasy world on our planet, is surprisingly gripping and at times disturbing. But, on the face of it, how could it be anything else? The pulse of his life has to be the pulse of our own American culture. And, like other aspects of life here, it is unimaginable, alarming, and truly frightening. I am looking forward to beginning these collaborations with Gerard Mortier at the New York City Opera."
The City Opera premiere of The Perfect American will reunite Glass with the innovative London theatre troupe Improbable. Improbable lent their signature work to the recent English National Opera production of Glass's opera Satyagraha, based on Mahatma Gandhi's early years in South Africa. Improbable also delivered The Wolves in the Walls to American audiences in 2007.