A death

With sadness, I want to mourn the death of Thomas M. Disch, who wrote the libretti for two of my operas, The Fall of the House of Usher and Frankenstein. The link takes you to his New York Times obituary. If you read it, you’ll see that the last few years weren’t happy for him. He had many misfortunes, and was upset about many things. I hope he now finds rest, and I extend all sympathy to his family, and anyone close to him.

I hope, too, that his writing grows more and more admired as the years past, not only the novels he was famous for, but also his poetry, which I think wasn’t appreciated enough. He was a wonderful collaborator, fun to work with, full of sharp ideas, and with an unerring sense of character, plot, and tone. He made my operas much better than they would have been without him.

And he was especially good at recreating the 19th century language and ambience that the two operas we wrote together needed. But he never imitated the 19th century. He somehow managed to inhabit it, almost magically, without ever pretending to be anything but a man of his own time, and always (if you read between the lines) smiling with gleeful delight at his ability to animate the past.

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  1. says


    I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your friend and colleague.

    Thanks, David. It makes me sad to think that you know so well about losses, after the terrible loss of your brother. You’ve done so much to keep him in our minds.