Franz Kafka remains one of the most original voices in literature and holds an enduring fascination, for contemporary composers as well.Philip Glass based his pocket opera In the Penal Colony for two singers, actors and string quintet (from 2000) on Kafka's story In der Strafkolonie.
In Satyagraha, Philip Glass shows how Gandhi's ideas can change the world. Director and choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui creates, together with stage designer Henrik Ahr and costume designer Jan-Jan Van Essche, a unique world in which both the narrative and the philosophical elements are united in a meditative performance. The eternal movement is embodied by the dancers of Ballet Flanders and Eastman. The Chorus of Opera Vlaanderen also has a leading role to play.
Satyagraha, "the power of truth", is the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), who promoted nonviolent civil disobedience in the face of injustice. Following his opera Einstein on the Beach (1978), in Satyagraha (1980) the American composer Philip Glass further developed the idea of an opera that is built up through a series of associative images. Glass describes this type of theatre experience as like leafing through the pages of a photo album.
Following Akhnaten in the 2014-2015 season, with fascinating costumes designed by Walter Van Beirendonck, Opera Vlaanderen will be bringing a second masterpiece by Philip Glass to the stage. As was the case for Pelléas et Mélisande in the 2017-2018 season, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui will be invited to act as director and choreographer once again. In this opera, his sinuous language of movement embodies the eternal struggle against injustice. Musically, Glass' astonishing minimal score will be brought to life by conductor Koen Kessels. Satyagraha is a coproduction with Theater Basel and the Komische Oper Berlin and received the special support of the Friends of the Opera Ballet.
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Repetitive patterns, powerful harmonies, tunes full of rhythmic drive… These are typical characteristics of minimal music as it developed in the US and England in the late 1960s.