Opera in three acts [1980]
Philip Glass


»His work is extremely multi-layered, at times disturbing and highly theatrical!«, the New York Times wrote enthusiastically about Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. »Performances which seem to absorb and spit out every new trend in contemporary dance theatre.« The Flemish-Moroccan dancer and choreographer, together with the Eastman company which he founded, has long since become a star of the international dance scene. The artistic pioneer presents one of the twentieth century’s most enigmatic works.
Three acts, three continents, four historic figures and six stations: The journey of the Indian politician Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi to becoming »Mahatma«, the »high-souled«, in his battle against British colonialism begins in South Africa and ends in the victory of the independence movement in India. The thing that connects Gandhi’s followers with the battles of other oppressed people, represented by Leo Tolstoy, Rabindranath Tagore and Martin Luther King, is Satyagraha – the unconditional and necessarily non-violent »insistence on the truth«.
Born in the USA in 1937, the composer Philip Glass is an established member of the Avant-Garde. First performed in Rotterdam in 1980, Satyagraha – Glass’s piece of musical theatre – is many things: a theatre of ideas, a multimedia work of historic art, a political statement and an attempt to unite spiritual inwardness with modern Enlightenment through artistic ritual. Glass takes Mahatma Gandhi’s youth, his studies of key Hindu texts such as the Bhagavad-Gītā and the places, battles and developments described therein, and unites these with the social conflicts of the twentieth century to create a meditatively minimalist piece of musical-theatrical reflection in the name of peace and of political and spiritual reconciliation.
Libretto by Philip Glass and Constance De Jong

A co-production with theTheater Basel and the Opera Vlaanderen


Musical direction
Staging and choreography
Stage design
Simon Berger, Pavel B. Jiracek
Roland Edrich


M. K. Gandhi
Miss Schlesen, his secretary
Mrs Naidoo
Kasturbai, Gandhi’s wife
Mr Kallenbach
Parsi Rustomji, Indian colleague
Mrs Alexander
Lord Krishna
Prince Arjuna
Chorsolisten der Komischen Oper Berlin, Tänzer*innen Eastman, Antwerpen