Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

The price is right: New Philip Glass opera to be streamed online

Christopher Purves as Walt Disney in Philip Glass’s opera The Perfect American.


Madrid's Teatro Real hosted the world premiere of Philip Glass's latest opera, The Perfect American, a couple of weeks ago, but thanks to the miracle of the Web, you don't have to book a flight to the Spanish capital to see it.

The opera, Glass's 24th, is being streamed live for free online and in English on, starting Wednesday at 2 p.m.

The perfect American in question is none other than Walt Disney, but here he's far from the avuncular figure of myth: Based on Peter Jungk's scabrous 2001 novel of the same name, Glass's Walt, portrayed by British baritone Christopher Purves, is something of a racist, anti-Semite and misogynist.

Story continues below advertisement

Directed by Phelim McDermott, who helmed Glass's Gandhi bio-opera Satyagraha at New York's Metropolitan Opera in 2008, the opera recounts the final days of the panicked creator of Mickey Mouse (Illinois-born, he died of cancer at 65 in 1966) as he is visited in his Burbank, Calif., hospital room by family and associates, Andy Warhol among them.

Reviews have been mixed – the Los Angeles Times was ecstatic, The New York Times, not so much – yet for the online audience, the price is surely just right.

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author

James More


The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

Please note that our commenting partner Civil Comments is closing down. As such we will be implementing a new commenting partner in the coming weeks. As of December 20th, 2017 we will be shutting down commenting on all article pages across our site while we do the maintenance and updates. We understand that commenting is important to our audience and hope to have a technical solution in place January 2018.

Discussion loading… ✨