MADRID — Walt Disney was hardly a perfect American.
He may have been the most famous and beloved American during his lifetime. But his private magic kingdom was not always the happiest place on Earth. Disney had his own private torments and is reputed to have railed against unions, blacks and Jews.
At least that is part of the 21st century Disney legend, and it is necessarily part of Philip Glass' new opera, "The Perfect American." Far from sterilized yet also disarmingly affectionate, it looks at Disney the myth, the artist and the man. The work contrasts between the America that formed Walt Disney and the America he formed for the rest of us.
And that is what makes Disney a perfect American opera character, even if it took Spain to bring Glass' "The Perfect American" to the lyric stage. The premiere (in English) was Tuesday night here at the Teatro Real.
-- Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic