An American Opera
These are songs about the Corn Belt, and some of the people in it.... or on it.
Perfect Lives is an opera for television created in the early 1980's by the composer Robert Ashley. The opera is mainly done by Ashley himself using a sort of lounge singer sprechstimme that ranges from the banal to the Neoplatonic sublime ("stick that in your pipe and smoke it, a#$hole", "Giordano Bruno.... I think they burned him....") This opera is an innovative, metaphysical reflection on American small town life in the Midwest.
Also notable in this opera is the piano playing of "Blue" Gene Tyrrany as "Buddy the World's Greatest Piano Player", which is far from avant-garde, but takes classical American piano idioms to a whole new level.
The DVD recording of the opera can be found here.