“A few critics have remarked that my operas have no plot. That’s not entirely true, but I wasn’t surprised. Many contemporary operas have no plot, because our idea of what a plot means has changed a lot since the Italian composers of the nineteenth century used plot to express political ideas. So, the no-plot criticism is valid—though perhaps not particularly important. Almost all of my operas were composed without any thought of the need for a linear plot.
“Contemporary opera—my work in particular, but, that of a lot of other composers, too—is usually a gathering of characters with stories to tell. The why-the-characters-are-together has replaced the notion of plot.”
—Robert Ashley, from the introduction of his novel, Quicksand