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" It seems to me opera is just as relevant as an expressive art as anything else. "
" I had all the normal interests - I played basketball and I headed the school paper. But I also developed very early a great love for music and literature and the theater. "
" 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. "
" I was encouraged by my mother and, to a lesser extent, by my father. "
" If an American audience is given a serious musical theater piece that is well produced, dramatically gripping and wonderfully acted, they'll respond to it. "
" I think anything that is expressed directly and as honestly as possible will last. "
" I find it enormously valuable to be sure that that the pacing is what I think it is and that the scenes have the shape I think they have musically and dramatically. "
" I was interested in what was really going on in Salem at that time, and I resolved to investigate this seemingly unorthodox treatment of the people and the period. "
" Anyone who creates something new or does something different artistically is going to be singled out. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" Most of the important composers in our country are clustered in the Northeast. "
" America tends to worship the modest talent because it doesn't put us in an uncomfortable position vis-a-vis the artist. "
" If I felt that one of my operas did not come off I would certainly say so. "
" 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. "
" Our most intimate contact with civilizations long since dust has been through the art which has survived them. "
" Like any other composer of opera, I choose a subject not for polemical reasons, but because it contains vivid characters in highly charged dramatic situations. "
" It's amazing how fast generations lose sight of other generations. One of the first things the young composers who come to work with me say is that they want to write music people will like, instead of gaining their credentials by being rejected by the audience. "
" If something is successful with the audience, it's automatically suspect; the reverse is to say that not to reach audiences is the greatest compliment an artist can receive! "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" Opera is given so little attention in the national press. "
" 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. "
" I've never set out consciously to write American music. I don't know what that would be unless the obvious Appalachian folk references. "
" I found a certain kind of music congenial to me; it never occurred to me to write music that was academically acceptable. "