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Cover for Falling Up

Falling Up

The Days and Nights of Carlisle Floyd, the Authorized Biography

Thomas Holliday


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Actors know about "falling up" a split-second ignition from the wings, propelling entrance as a new character, an unwilled ascent to a different mode of being, an in-body experience that overlays preparation, opportunity, choice, or chance. Falling Up, the first and only full-length Floyd study, is a metaphor for humanity's uncanny ability to rise from seeming disaster into rebirth. Floyd's consistent succession of soars, stumbles, slides, or wrenches sings of triumph over odds.

A modern Renaissance man, Floyd is our greatest living opera composer and librettist, a trained concert pianist, a master stage director, and a teacher. In Falling Up, Holliday offers an intimate account of the life that shaped the words and music. Combining insights from hundreds of interviews with Floyd, his family, and many of the last half-century's greatest singers, conductors, and opera administrators, Falling Up traces Floyd's Southern roots and the struggles and sacrifices that accompanied his rise to operatic stardom.

With more than forty photographs, the detailed evolution of Floyd's fourteen operas, and in-depth analysis of his nonoperatic works, Falling Up is essential reading for opera fans and professionals alike, a book that moves, informs, and entertains.

Syracuse University Press, 9780815610038, 534pp.

Publication Date: January 25, 2013

About the Author

Thomas Holliday is an opera stage director and writer who has worked with companies in New York, New Jersey, Colorado, Tennessee, and elsewhere.