The American composer Philip Glass, an icon in the world of minimal music, composed his first opera in 1975: Einstein on the Beach, a hallucinatory portrait of Albert Einstein. In his recent opera The Perfect American, Glass puts the spotlight on another person who has indelibly left his mark on the twentieth century, but who was the total opposite of Einstein: Walt Disney. In this opera, Glass moves beyond the cheerful image of Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse; the result is a profound portrait of a tormented human being. As we follow Disney during the final months of his life, we discover his strong moral fibre and his unhappy childhood. Musically speaking, Glass abandons the purely minimal music that characterized so much of his previous output. At times, this work even resembles a traditional opera – although the trademark Glass sound is never far away.