Thursday, October 2, 2008

Walt Disney's Wonderful World of ... Opera?

The New York City Opera has commissioned Academy Award nominee Philip Glass (The Hours) to compose an opera based on the final days of Walt Disney.

I have always felt that Disney's life was rife with possibilities for musicalization, but never thought of opera as the means to do it. Furthermore, the basis for the new piece, the German-language novel The Perfect American by Peter Stephan Jungk, is a fictionalized account of the last months of his life, and not without its share of controversy (among other falsehoods, it perpetuates the ugly rumor that Disney was a racist).

The opera isn't scheduled until the 2012-2013 season, but something tells me the infamous Disney lawyers will make it so this never sees the light of day.

UPDATE: Per due to "budgetary constraints", New York City Opera has dropped plans to produce this piece.

Illustration by Pete Emslie.


  1. Walt Disney was a wonderful man. I do not think an Opera would go over that well, Do you?

  2. Yeah, I don't think so either. Especially one that is negative about Walt. Who do they expect to come see it? Hardcore Disney fans don't want to see that.

    - kch

  3. A VERY interesting idea, even though I've had a stage musical based on Disney's life in my mind for years. But I agree that if it is too negative a portrayal, most people won't want to see it. Uncle Walt is, for all practical purposes, a saint.


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