Philip Littell

Librettist Philip Littell has collaborated on works with many American composers, including David Conte, Jake Heggie, and Conrad Susa.

Photo: Philip Littell, Yelton Rhodes Music

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“Since writing the libretto for The Dangerous Liaisons, Philip Littell has provided the words for operas, oratorios, cantatas, song cycles, and symphonies for American composers including Conrad Susa, Stephen Hartke, Michael Torke, Frank Ticheli, Jake Heggie, David Conte, and Robert Seeley. Susa and Littell’s Liaisons received its premiere at the San Francisco Opera in 1994, was broadcast on PBS later that year, and recently received its second staging at the Washington Opera. Their church opera The Wise Women, commissioned by the American Guild of Organists in 1995, is also frequently performed. The Dreamers, an opera by David Conte, followed in 1996, for the Sonoma City Opera. That year also saw Heggie’s song cycle Eve-song, Hartke’s cantata Sons of Noah, and, for the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, Seeley’s successful Naked Man, which has since been performed by choruses throughout the country. Littell and Seeley are currently engaged on two new commissions, one for the Women’s Chorus of Dallas and the other for the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington. A native of New York City, Littell has lived in Los Angeles since 1976, where his first career as an actor led him to work in Shakespeare, avant-garde plays, cabaret, rock bands, and performance art. His work as an actor also led him directly to opera when he was cast as the Dancing Master in the Long Beach Opera’s staging of Ariadne auf Naxos/ Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. He has his own theater company, Red Tie, where he performs, writes, and directs cabaret and musicals with his collaborator, composer Eliot Douglass. [From program notes to “Streetcar Named Desire” by the San Francisco Opera.]”

–Yelton Rhodes Music website

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