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When I've seen my operas in Europe, they have always struck me as more American than when I hear them here. I can't tell you what that phenomenon is.
What is American music? The most satisfying answer I've come across is that it was a kind of natural comfort with the vernacular which is diverse and regional; it's not one particular set of sounds.
We think the Puritans always dressed in black and white, which they didn't. They loved very bright colors. And there were other differences in perceptions that gave one a very different view of them.
We don't have access to a national forum that we had in those days, through the news magazines which were the television news of the time. It's very disturbing to me that we've sort of been pushed to the corners.
There's the Bacon society, which is fostered by his fourth wife Helen Bacon, but I don't know what kind of performances his music gets. He wrote symphonic music and some chorale music.
There is something inherent in our democracy that tends to want to level. America is a little uncomfortable in the presence of someone who is distinctly superior in whatever way.
The story of Willie Stark fascinated me because it was tackling the story of a man who outwardly has all the success one could possibly want and who is destroyed by his personal demons.
The performances of my works in the last 10 years are probably equal to all the previous years put together. There are so many venues now and there is a completely new public for opera that's grown up outside of the traditional core opera public.
The artist is something of an outsider in America. I have always felt that America does not value its artists, certainly not in the sense that the Europeans do.
Socially I never was an outsider. I have never thought of the conflict element before frankly, but perhaps it was wanting to belong, and at the same time wanting to retain one's own personality.
People in very high places suddenly fall, and we are always surprised because we don't factor in the basic element that they're humans and, therefore, they are flawed and have weaknesses.
Our most intimate contact with civilizations long since dust has been through the art which has survived them.
Opera is given so little attention in the national press.
Trust In God
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