Philip Glass’s Gandhi Opera ‘Satyagraha’ at Mahaiwe and The Clark

Richard Croft as Gandhi in Philip Glass's 'Satyagraha' (photo Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)

Richard Croft as Gandhi in Philip Glass's 'Satyagraha' (photo Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)

(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., and GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Philip Glass’s opera Satyagraha, an inspirational retelling of Mohandas K. Gandhi’s formative philosophical experiences as a young man in South Africa considered a masterpiece of the late-20th-century operatic repertoire and one of Glass’s greatest creations, will be broadcast live in HD from the Metropolitan Opera at The Clark in Williamstown and the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington on Saturday, November 19, 2011, at 1 pm. An encore broadcast of the opera, which runs approximately four hours with two intermissions, takes place at the Mahaiwe on Wednesday, November 23, at 1pm.

Glass’s minimalist score, sung in Sanskrit, features lyrics drawn from the Bhagavad Gita. Phelim McDermott’s visually extravagant production uses large-scale puppetry, acrobatics, and supertitles to create a moving, life-affirming theatrical experience. Richard Croft portrays Gandhi, a role he first sang to critical acclaim in the 2008 Met premiere of the work. The cast also includes Rachelle Durkin as Miss Schlesen, Kim Josephson as Mr. Kallenbach, and Alfred Walker as Parsi Rustomji. Contemporary music specialist Dante Anzolini conducts; rising bass-baritone star Eric Owens hosts the transmission. Satyagraha has been hailed “a work of genius” (L.A. Times) and “a transcendent evening of theater” (Variety).

“Satyagraha” is the name given to Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolent civil resistance. It is formed from two Sanskrit words, satya, meaning ‘truth,’ and agraha, meaning ‘insistence’ or ‘holding onto.’ The name was also applied to the movement for Indian independence from Great Britain led by Gandhi.

A scene from Act II of 'Satyagraha' with Richard Croft (center) as Gandhi

A scene from Act II of 'Satyagraha' with Richard Croft (center) as Gandhi

Glass’s opera was written in 1979 and premiered in the Netherlands in 1980, and is considered the second part of his “Portrait Trilogy” of operas about men who changed the world, which also includes Einstein on the Beach and Akhnaten.

Tickets at The Clark are $25 ($18 for members and students) and may be ordered online or by calling 413.458.0MET (458 0638). The box office will also be open one hour before the performance, and the doors will open at 12:30 pm. The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm (daily in July and August). Admission is free November through May. For more information, call 413-458-2303 or visit The Clark.

Tickets at the Mahaiwe are $18 to $25. On Saturday, November 19 at 11 am there will be a pre-broadcast lecture by opera expert Scott Eyerly. Tickets to the lecture are $10. The Mahaiwe is at 14 Castle Street, in Great Barrington, Mass. Box Office: 413.528.0100/ Mahaiwe Box Office hours are Wednesday – Saturday: noon – 6pm plus 3 hrs prior to all showtimes.




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