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Satyagraha

London Coliseum

Satyagraha is composer Philip Glass’s meditation on Gandhi’s early years in South Africa, a visual feast revived by the English National Opera.

Satyagraha is composer Philip Glass’s meditation on Gandhi’s early years in South Africa, tracing the progress of his concept of non-violent protest as a positive force for change, and performed at the London Coliseum by the English National Opera.

First staged in 2007, Phelim McDermott’s highly acclaimed, spectacularly theatrical production is a visual feast. Glass’s use of repetitive musical structures – ‘minimalism’– creates a mesmerising soundscape, quite unlike traditional operas.

Satyagraha is the name of Gandhi’s overall method of non-violent action, translating as “truth-force” – in other words, the idea that force is generated through adherence to truth, and so non-violent action should always be preferred. It is a particular form of nonviolent, civil resistance coined by Gandhi, employed by him in South Africa for Indian rights. Satyagraha theory was hugely influential in Martin Luther King Jr.’s campaign during the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.

The opera was first commissioned by the city of Rotterdam, Nederlands, where it was first performed in September 1980 by the Netherlands Opera. It premiered in North America in July 1981, and made its UK premiere in a joint production in Bath in 1997.

Satyagraha is an opera in three acts, each referencing a major related cultural figure. The story shifts throughout Gandhi’s life, flowing between time, words and music to create a hypnotic experience. The first act references Leo Tolstoy, and see a great war fought on a mythical battlefield; the second references Rabindranath Tagore, a Bengali polymath who reshaped his culture’s literature and music, and centres on the theme of protest; and the third references Martin Luther King Jr., with a more political slant.

Following the Olivier Award-winning run of Akhnaten in 2016, McDermott is reunited with Glass-specialist conductor Karen Kamensek. Distinguished British tenor Toby Spence sings Gandhi for the first time, and is joined by sopranos Charlotte Beament (Miss Schelesen) and Anna-Clare Monk (Mrs Naidoo).

Book now for Glass’s mesmeric masterpiece, which has become an icon of contemporary opera.

Please note that Satyagraha is sung in Sanskrit without surtitles.

Opening Night
01/02/2018

Closing Night
27/02/2018

Running time
3h15, inc. interval

Nearest Tube
Leicester Square (125m) Charing Cross/Embankment (275m)

Nearest Bus
The following buses stop in the Haymarket (Southbound) or Lower Regent Street (Northbound): 3, 6, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 22, 23, 24, 29, 38, 88, 91, 94, 139, 159, 176, 453

Nearest Train
Charing Cross (275m)

Security note: For your comfort and security, you may be subject to additional checks on your visit to London theatres. Please contact the venue for more information.

Cast & Creative

Cast

M. K. Gandhi - Toby Spence

Miss Schlesen - Charlotte Beament

Mrs Naidoo - Anna-Clare Monk

Kasturbai - Stephanie Marshall

Mr Kallenbach - Nicholas Folwell

Parsi Rustomji - Brindley Sherratt

Mrs Alexander - Sarah Pring

Prince Arjuna - Eddie Wade

Lord Krishna - Andri Björn Róbertsson

More...

Creative

Director - Phelim McDermott

Costume - Kevin Pollard

Lighting Designer - Paule Constable

Set Designer - Julian Crouch

Music By - Philip Glass

Associate Director - Julian Crouch

ABOUT London Coliseum

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