July 22, 1978 | Central City Opera
The Face on the Barroom Floor
Composer:Henry Mollicone
Librettist:John S. Bowman
The opera tells two tales, separated in time but parallel in characters and theme. In present day Central City, CO, Isabel, a member of the opera chorus, and her friend Larry visit the Teller House bar. Larry orders champagne and asks about the face painted on the floor. Tom, the bartender, tells the story, which is enacted as he becomes a 19th century bartender named John, who welcomes the bargirl Madeline (played by Isabel) as they toast to the future.

A disheveled traveler, Matt (played by Larry), enters and orders drinks for all while Madeline is asked to sing. Unable to pay for the drinks, Matt offers instead to paint a portrait on the barroom floor of the only woman he ever loved. John discovers the portrait is of Madeline. The two men fight until Madeline throws herself between them, with tragic consequences. Larry, now back in the twentieth century, laughs drunkenly at the old legend and forces Isabel to dance with him. Tom now reveals his past romantic relationship with Isabel and challenges Larry. Events in the past repeat themselves in the present, continuing the legend of the face on the barroom floor.

Click company name to view productions details.
Central City OperaThe Face on the Barroom Floor7/25/2018 - 8/3/2018
Utah Festival OperaThe Face on the Barroom Floor7/2/2001 - 7/7/2001
Utah Festival OperaThe Face on the Barroom Floor7/7/2000 - 7/28/2000
Chicago Opera TheaterThe Face on the Barroom Floor6/6/1998 - 6/13/1998
Maryland OperaThe Face on the Barroom Floor4/1/1993 - 4/24/1993
University of Southern CaliforniaThe Face on the Barroom Floor3/1/1992 - 3/20/1992

Title Information

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Approximate Runtime (hh:mm)

Number of Acts

Musical Style
melodic and “eclectic”, using both serious and popular musical styles of the 20th century

Vocal & Musical Forces
Soprano, Tenor, Baritone (the work is usually conducted from the piano)

Original Cast
The premiere performances were done with three separate casts:
Isabelle/Madeline (sop): Francis Lytton, leanne McGiffin, Camille Rosso
Larry/Matt (ten): Gary Jordan, William Martin, Louis Turner
Tom/John (bar): Norman Andersson, Dario Coletta, J. Patrick Raftery

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