Glass: Satyagraha (3-CD) – New York City Opera

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Glass: Satyagraha (3-CD) – New York City Opera

Composer: Philip Glass
Artists: Douglas Perry, Claudia Cummings, Rhonda Liss, Robert McFarland, Scott Reeve, Sheryl Woods, New York City Opera Orchestra & Chorus
Conductor: Christopher Keene
Number of Discs: 3
Label: CBS Records
CD Release Date: December 21, 2006

An emphasis on strings and on courtly, European-toned small choruses lends Satyagraha a Western sense rarely evidenced in Philip Glass’s extensive catalog. The libretto, though written in Sanskrit, is often mistakable, sonorously, for Italian. Satyagraha’s relative independence from the internecine, Hindu raga-like patterns of the composer’s other long-form work is particularly ironic given the opera’s subject: Mahatma Ghandi, whose native country’s ritual culture and spiritual heritage have long informed Glass’s music. 

Satyagraha is no dramatic biography, however. Following a mythological gambit, the scenes focus on a handful of specific events in Ghandi’s long life (the construction of a communal farm, his tumultuous arrival in Durban, the publication of the weekly broadside Indian Opinion). Pointedly, the opera is an international affair, each of its three acts referencing a major cultural figure: Leo Tolstoy, Rabindranath Tagore, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This 3-CD set includes a booklet with synopsis in English, French and German, full cast list, and detailed track list. The original recording is from 1985.

“I listen to this opera all the time. The music is mesmerizing and magical and never fails to remind me of the profound and beautiful production that was seen in the Met’s 2011–12 season.”
- Hope

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