The Power of the Truth: Philip Glass Tells of Gandhi

What do Lev Tolstoj, Martin Luther King and Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore have in common? They are the protective saints of the fantasy-filled Sathyagraha by Philip Glass, on stage at the London Coliseum. Nothing to do with the traditional work: hypnotic sounds and texts in sanskrit from the religious poem Bahagavad Gita evoke the youth of Gandhi in South Africa, struggling against the Black Act and formulating his ethic of non-violence. Twenty-one years concentrated in a single day, from sunrise to nightfall, on display “like photos in a family album”, according to Glass’ own words, far-flung from the typical narrative conventions of traditional opera. Too difficult? Not at all. Satyagraha - which means the “power of truth” - is an extraordinarily potent theatrical experience, in which the unusual musical universe of the American composer, passionate about extra-European cultures, gives life to a fluid and compelling drama. Lighting effects and dazzling sets transform the play into a true treat for the eyes. Bringing all this to the stage of the London Coliseum is director Phelim McDermott, winner of the Olivier Award in 2016 with Akhnaten, also by Philip Glass, and orchestra director Karen Kamensek, specialist of the repertoire, capable of communicating the startling colours of this work of sublime beauty.
Francesca Grego - © 2018 forr Bulgari Hotel London