My second production with Opera Vlaanderen was the mind boggling, tongue twister of an opera: Satyagraha. It was a fun challenge to learn this opera (in Sanskrit) in a shorter time than the rest of my colleagues. When I first got the score, I remember thinking that this opera would be impossible to memorise. All the companies that I know have performed this in the past, have had a prompt screen or a person mouthing the words at them. But we performed the whole thing from memory without it. I was extremely proud of the work that we put into this performance. It was extremely difficult, but that is what made it so rewarding.
"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.
Length: 3 hours 30 minutes, incl. two intermissions Sanskrit with Dutch surtitles"
Photo: Rahi Rezvani
Jennifer Coleman - is a classical / opera singer, and vocal coach, performing across the UK and internationally.