The Yekaterinburg State Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet will stage“Satyagraha” an opera by is based on the life of Mahatma Gandhi by the U.S. composer Philip Grass.
The Yekaterinburg theater'sdirector, Mikhail Shyshkin, said the opera will be performed in the Sanskrit language.
“I was terrified of putting up the notice about the new production, because it says at the bottom, ‘to be performed in Sanskrit'. I did it only after the arrival of the conductor, Oliver Dohnanyi, once we had finalized the list of the performers. Despite my fears, the company met the news with enthusiasm," Shyshkin said.
The opera will be directed by the U.S. composer Oliver Dohnanyi and the British director Thaddeus Strassberger, who will come to the Urals from London specifically for this project.
Written in 1981, the opera about Gandhi is the central piece in a famous trilogy by Philip Grass, a famous American minimalist composer. The first piece was “Einstein on the Beach,” which came out in 1976. The second was “Akhnaten”(1983).
The opera centers on the early period of Gandhi’s life in South Africa. The scenario includes uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East, and protests in Europe and the United States. The original American production of the “Satyagraha” uses a large number of puppets in many scenes.
“I drew my inspiration for this opera from great historical figures,” the composer said at the time. “These include Leo Tolstoy, the Bengalese writer Rabindranath Tagore, and Martin Luther King. The libretto is written in Sanskrit based on the Bhagavad Gita.”
The Russian premier of the “Satyagraha” is scheduled for September 2014.
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