English National Opera to mount Philip Glass production about Walt Disney's last days

Philip Glass and the English National Opera will stage "The Perfect American," adapted from Peter Stephan Jungk's fictionalized account of Walt Disney's last months.

Glass – described by the ENO as “one of the world’s most important composers” – said the life of the man behind Mickey Mouse was “unimaginable, alarming and truly frightening”.

The story follows cartoonist Wilhelm Dantine, who worked for Disney in the 1950s. The production does not have the rights to use Disney’s most famous characters, but it is likely to find a way to reference them. Berry said: “Glass is very interested in the impact that a personality of that order has on wider culture.”

ENO to stage Philip Glass opera about the last days of Walt Disney (Thanks, Tom!)



    1. I re-watched that about a year ago. That score really made me want to gouge out my inner ears.

      1. Not a big fan of minimalism, eh?  Yup, Philip Glass is very touch-and-go, although I really like his “Einstein On The Beach”.

        The “Mishima” score was performed by the Kronos Quartet.  Let’s do the same for Disney, but instead of committing seppuku at the end, let’s have Walt jumping into the cryogenic vat, with the legend “The End… For Now”

        1. I see nothing minimalist about non-stop clanging. It’s more tinnitism than minimalism.

          1.  Is that a typo?  Did you mean ‘tintin-ism’?

            /BTW, I suffer from tinnitis, I’d rather have Glass playing in my head than that all day.

        2. The “Mishima” score was performed by the Kronos Quartet

          Are you sure? I thought that one was with full orchestra.

          I have the disk laying around here somewhere, but I haven’t listened to it in a long time…

          (Off topic, but if you like Kronos, be sure to listen to their performances of Terry Riley’s works (whom, as far as minimalism goes, I prefer to Glass)).

          1. Evidence, courtesy of YouTube:

            And check it out, Antinous, it ain’t all that bad, actually those strings are quite damn beautiful, evocative.

            EDIT FOR UPDATE: Antinous, give it another chance, I can’t believe we’re talking about the same thing, this is amazing!

          2. Gotcha.  The difference is that I saw “Mishima” about twenty years ago, so the slate is clean with me, so to speak.  As a three minute piece and far removed from an experience of annoying repetition, it’s a thing of beauty.

    2. More like “Mishima”.


      All Phillip Glass joking aside, I once saw Koyaanisqatsi with live orchestral accompaniment, and I enjoyed it a lot.

  1. M-I-C,MIC,MIC, M-I-C-K,M-I-C-K,M-I-C-K,E-E-E,EEE,E-Y,E-Y,E-Y,E-Y,E-Y,E-Y,mouse,mouse,mouse.

    1. Don’t get my wrong about Glass and his music. Heck, I’ve purchased quite a few of his works on LP in the mid and late 70’s. Including LP’s of “North Star”, “Music in 12 Parts”, And a 2 inch thick Box set complete LP collection of “Eisenstein on the Beach”. I don’t even think there’s a complete version of that on CD publish (no?). ..and even the short lived “New Wave” rock album “Polyrock”.

  2. I don’t want to go Godwin, but when I read “Walt Disney’s last days”, I totally pictured Downfall with a slightly different mustache.

  3. What? No long thread about how Disney was no way the perfect American. Boingers, you are slipping.

  4. Michael Barrier, longtime animation historian and writer, who wrote probably the best researched biography of Walt Disney (“The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney”) has some comments regarding the opera and the book it’s based on:


    Short summary: When they say the book is “fictionalized” they ain’t kiddin’. It contains very little insight into the real person of Walt Disney who’s real life was not “unimaginable, alarming and truly frightening.”

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