Today, Prince of Players, the new chamber opera composed by Carlisle Floyd with a libretto after Jeffrey Hatcher's Compleat Female Stage Beauty, will be performed by Houston Grand Opera at the Cullen Theater (Wortham Theater Center).
The production is part of the celebration of the composer's 90th birthday. His lyrical output include several landmarks of the American operatic history such as Susannah (1956), Of Mice and Men (1969) and Cold Sassy Tree (2000).
The androgynous Edward Kynaston has become an idol of London's Restoration-era theater for his finely honed and utterly convincing portrayals of female characters. But with the stroke of a pen, King Charles II not only allows women to appear onstage but also forbids men from performing as women. Only Kynaston's mastery of his craft keeps him from being swept away by the tides of change. (reproduced from the HGO's website).The cast includes baritone Ben Edquist (Edward Kynaston), soprano Mane Galoyan (Margaret Hughes), tenor Chad Shelton (Charles II), tenor Joseph Evans (Sir Charles Sedley), tenor Scott Quinn (Villiers, Duke of Buckingham) and mezzo Megan Samarin (Lady Meresvale / Mistress Revels). Patrick Summers conducts the HGO Orchestra and Chorus. Michael Gieleta directs. The opera should last about 90 minutes, with one intermission.
The orchestra is the following (reproduced from the Boosey & Hawkes website) :
- 2 flutes (doubling piccolo), 2 oboes (doubling English Horn), 2 clarinets (doubling bass clarinet), 2 bassoons (doubling double bassoon) ;
- 2 horns, 2 trumpets ;
- timpani and percussion ;
- harp and strings.