Prince of Players


Set in Restoration England during the time of King Charles II, Prince of Players follows the story of Edward Kynaston, a Shakespearean actor famous for his performances of the female roles in the Bard's plays. When the King grants permission for women to appear onstage, and forbids male actors from continuing to appear in female roles, Kynaston must relearn his entire craft or face the end of his career..

Adapted from Jeffrey Hatcher’s play A Compleat Female Stage Beauty and the subsequent 2004 film Stage Beauty, the opera was commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera. It received its world premiere this past March 2016 at the HGO Studio. Since the performances in Houston the composer made a few small revisions, which will be heard for the first time in this production by the little OPERA theatre of ny this February 2017 at The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College.

At its premiere in Houston, Carlisle Floyd’s opera Prince of Players received praise from the Houston Chronicle as being “beautifully realized with an electrifying score,” and The Classical Review celebrated its “fiery, heaving music.” Opera News praised the work’s “rich, full-ensemble sweeps of emotional color” and Floyd’s adaptation that “evoked the sinister harshness of Restoration-era London [through the score’s] harmonic and rhythmic distortions.”

Carlisle Floyd (Composer & Librettist) has created a distinctively American idiom for opera, drawing on national folk and religious music traditions. His nine music theatre works combine penetrating social commentary with acute psychological insight. Floyd writes his own librettos, in which he has treated such themes as the aftermath of the Civil War, the Great Depression, and rural fundamentalism. Susannah, his best-known opera, has entered the permanent repertory with countless productions in the U.S. and a growing number in Europe. Of Mice and Men is Floyd’s other most often performed work, was given its premiere by the Seattle Opera, and in subsequent years produced all over the country including the New York City Opera, Utah Opera, San Diego Opera, Sarasota Opera, and Cleveland Opera. Floyd’s more recent operas include Bilby’s Doll (1976) and Willie Stark (1981), which were both commissioned and produced by the Houston Grand Opera, the latter in association with the Kennedy Center. Mr. Floyd has been the recipient of a number of honors and awards and in 2004 was awarded the National Medal of Arts in a ceremony at the White House. In 2008, Floyd was one of four honorees—and the only composer—to be included in the inaugural National Endowment for the Arts Opera Honors. In 2011, he was inducted into the South Carolina Hall of Fame, an honor reserved for the state’s most-accomplished native sons. Mr. Floyd celebrated his 90th birthday on June 11th, 2016.