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.
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.
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.
It seems to me opera is just as relevant as an expressive art as anything else.
Our most intimate contact with civilizations long since dust has been through the art which has survived them.
Socially I never was an outsider. I have never thought of the conflict element before frankly, but perhaps it was wanting to belong, and at the same time wanting to retain one's own personality.
We don't have access to a national forum that we had in those days, through the news magazines which were the television news of the time. It's very disturbing to me that we've sort of been pushed to the corners.
You can't possibly predict what will last or not. But once you attempt to write for the ages, you're doomed.
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.
It's necessary to track characters all the way through an opera. If you're dealing with more than one or two characters, it's very easy to forget that the others have lives of their own that feed into the story.
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.
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.
The performances of my works in the last 10 years are probably equal to all the previous years put together. There are so many venues now and there is a completely new public for opera that's grown up outside of the traditional core opera public.
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.
I found a certain kind of music congenial to me; it never occurred to me to write music that was academically acceptable.