One in this four-part series of documentaries on avant-garde American composers. In this documentary, director Peter Greenaway examines the making of Robert Ashley's video opera, "Perfect Lives (Privacy Rules)," a multimedia opera presented in seven episodes for television. Ashley and several of the artists who created the production are interviewed, and excerpts from a series of live performances at the Almeida Theatre in Islington, London, are shown. Ashley explains the life of a modern composer in America; recalls how his family's speaking habits influenced his compositions; and asserts that television now offers the best opportunity as a conduit for new opera in America. John Sanborn, who created the opera's video landscapes and character portraits, recalls how he became involved with the project and reveals the reasons for the configuration of the sets.


  • NETWORK: Channel 4 (United Kingdom)
  • DATE: 1983
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:54:07
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T:07785
  • GENRE: Arts documentaries; Music
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Avant-garde music; Composers; International Collection - United Kingdom; Operas - Excerpts; Video art
  • SERIES RUN: Channel 4 (United Kingdom) - TV, 1983


  • Revel Guest … Producer
  • Carlota Schoolman … Producer
  • Peter Greenaway … Director
  • Robert Ashley … Producer, Television version of "Perfect Lives (Privacy Rules)", Director, Composer
  • Tyranny, Gene "Blue" … Music (Misc. Credits), Harmonic and melodic soundtrack
  • Peter Gordon … Music (Misc. Credits), Music Producer and Live Electronics, Audio Imagery, Special Effects
  • Van Tieghem, David … Music (Misc. Credits), Recorded Percussion
  • Carlota Schoolman … Television Producer
  • Jane Chrzanowska … Researcher
  • Robert Ashley … Cast, "R" (The Storyteller)
  • Tyranny, Gene "Blue" … Cast, Buddy/"The World's Greatest Piano Player"
  • Jill Kroesen … Cast, Isolde (Marie Isolde)
  • David Van Tieghem … Cast, "D"/"The Captain of the Football Team"
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