Carlisle Floyd, composer, Librettist, Academic
Mr. Carlisle Floyd will be at Lone Star College-Kingwood May 5-7, 2006. You will not want to miss Sunday, May 7, 2006 at Strawbridge United Methodist Church, 5629 Kingwood Drive at Willow Terrace in Kingwood. The Kingwood Chorale and chamber orchestra will conclude its 2005-2006 season with a concert and weekend festival celebrating the 80th birthday of American opera composer Carlisle Floyd. This will include choruses and Floyd's arias from Susannah, Cold Sassy Tree, The Passion of Jonathan Wade, Of Mice and Men, and others. This is a major artistic endeavor for Kingwood as we herald the most distinguished American opera composer in the last fifty years! Many thanks to Dr. Todd Miller, Head of the Lone Star College-Kingwood Music Department, whose dissertation Religious elements in three operas of Carlisle Floyd, centered on the work of Mr. Floyd, for this wonderful opportunity.
STUDENTS: Several CDs of Mr. Floyd's operas are available for check-out and in-library listening.

Ask at the circulation desk.

A Timeline of American Opera - Operas and composers of American opera from 1845-1995. Arm yourself with a timeline of American operas, including those of Mr. Carlisle Floyd.

Carlisle Floyd at HGO 2001About Carlisle Floyd

Carlisle Floyd is one of the foremost composers and librettists of opera in the United States today. His opera Susannah is the most performed American opera, and is performed throughout the world.. Born in 1926, Floyd earned B.M. and M.M. degrees in piano and composition with Ernst Bacon at Syracuse University, studying piano additionally with Sidney Foster and, at theAspen Institute, with Rudolf Firkusny. He began his teaching career in 1947 at Florida State University, remaining there until 1976, when he accepted the prestigious M. D. Anderson Professorship in the University of Houston. In addition, he is co-founder with David Gockley of the Houston Opera Studio, a training and performance program for young singers and coaches-accompanists, jointly created by the University of Houston and Houston Grand Opera. Floyd received an honorary doctorate at FSU in 2005. He has received many prestigious awards including the NEA National Medal of Arts and he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2001.

Carlisle Floyd captures the American spirit in his operas as no other composer has attempted or succeeded in doing. He has written of preachers, politicians, drifters, witches and plain, ordinary folk. Several operas are taken from the plots of books and most are set in the south, places like Louisiana and South Carolina.


Finding Mr. Floyd on the Internet

  • NEA presented Mr. Floyd with the National Medal of Arts, "For giving American opera its national voice in a series of contemporary classics rooted in American themes." At left, President George W. Bush and Laura Bush present the National Medal of Arts award to Carlisle Floyd. White House photo by Susan Sterner. Floyd has received honors from arts organizations, educational establishments, and governments and in 2001 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
  • U.S. Opera Web: an Online Magazine Devoted to Opera - Operas We Would Like To See Again: Carlisle Floyd Talks About Wuthering Heights, The Passion of Jonathan Wade, Bilby’s Doll and Willie Stark Written by Robert Wilder Blue. An excellent article about Mr. Floyd, containing many quotes about his works and his views on opera today. Follow the link to Cold Sassy Tree.
  • Opera World - A Summing-Up at Seventy by Carlisle Floyd. Mr. Carlisle's views on the state of opera in America. Includes a brief biography.
  • Arizona Opera - Biographical information and a link to the Arizona Opera's performance Of Mice and Men in 2000.
  • Boosey and Hawkes - B&H is the primary publisher of Mr. Floyd's operas on CD. Find here a brief biography and details about purchasing the CDs.
  • - Want to hear Mr. Floyd's operas on CD? Go to the Carlisle Floyd link and listen to a bit of Susannah, Cold Sassy Tree, and others. Guaranteed a "Wish List" item.
  • Houston Grand Opera - Several of Mr. Floyd's operas have premiered in Houston. Read the History of HGO from 1956 - present.
  • All About - Use the Biography and Floyd links to go to more information on Floyd and his operas. This is a good place to start learning about each opera. For some reason, you will have to do an Opera Title search to get to Susannah. The other operas are linked from Floyd.
  • - Carlisle Floyd - offers a brief outline and bio, a bibliography of his works, plus links to the works of Mr. Floyd.
  • University of South Carolina - Information about the Carlisle Floyd papers given to the University. Papers span 1946-2000.
  • Florida State University - Mr. Floyd returned to FSU, in 2005, for his 79th birthday and the 50th anniversary of his most known opera, Susannah. Listen to the audio of the local radio station's announcement of his vist and proclamation of his honorary doctorate at FSU, where he began his teaching career - and premiered Susannah in 1955.

2000 World Premiere of Carlisle Floyd's Cold Sassy Tree - CD recording which was released by Albany record August, 2005. Photo by George HixsonCold Sassy Tree 2000

  • Austin Chronicle - With 'Cold Sassy Tree Composer Carlisle Floyd Crafts an Opera to Crown His Brilliant Career' writes reporter Robert Faires in January, 2001. While Cold Sassy Tree is his final opera (to date), Mr. Floyd continues making appearances and teaching about opera. The review and information here is good background for CST.
  • Live Events - Carlyle Floyd: Cold Sassy Tree. Directed by Bruce Beresford, conducted by Patrick Summers. With Patrice Racette and Dean Peterson. Houston Grand Opera, Houston, TX. May 6, 2000. A brief article about the premier at HGO.
  • US OperaWeb - In April 2000, Houston Grand Opera presented the world premiere of Carlisle Floyd's tenth opera which was based on the 1984 novel by Olive Ann Burns. In this article, Floyd talks about Cold Sassy Tree with Karen Keltner, Resident Conductor of San Diego Opera.

Of Mice and Men (1970)

Of Mice and Men - HGO

Bilby's Doll (1976)

  • Catherine Malfitano's brilliant career - In 1976, Ms. Malfitano created the title role in the world premiere of Carlisle Floyd's Bilby's Doll in Houston. The opera comes from an obscure 1928 novel, A Mirror for Witches by Esther Forbes. It tells the story of a young woman, Doll Bilby, who embraced witch-hood as something beautiful and romantic, and presents a view of 17th century Salem, Massachusetts at wide variance with the accepted or popular concept of that period. (Picture: Floyd and Malfitano, courtesy of the Houston Grand Opera)
  • Boosey & Hawkes - Bilby's Doll includes roles, time and place, synopsis, and mood. World premier Houston Grand Opera, 1976.

Slow Dusk (1949)

  • Yale Daily News' Opera Reaches High and Low Notes. "Slow Dusk," written in 1949 while Floyd was still a student at Syracuse University, is a tragedy set in the American South during the Great Depression.
  • FYI: Slow Dusk premiered in the Houston area at Lone Star College-Kingwood.

The Passion of Jonathan Wade (1962)

    Stage set - Passion of Jonathan Wade
  • US Opera Web - The Double Life of Jonathan Wade by Robert Wilder Blue. The Passion of Jonathan Wade was the 5th Floyd opera and premiered by the New York City Opera Company.
  • Listserv by San Diego's David Gregson - critical review of the opera's debut in San Diego.
  • Boosey & Hawkes - Basic information including cast, roles, synopsis, and performances.

Wuthering Heights (1958)


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Academic Search Complete
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Note:  To access these databases from off campus, students must login with the barcode number from their library card using the links above.

Lone Star College-Kingwood Library | Write to Dr. Miller | Page by Peggy Whitley, 2006

Many thanks to Brian Mitchell and the Archives Department of the Houston Grand Opera for sharing photographs, past opera programs, and other memorabilia featuring the works of Carlisle Floyd for our library exhibit.