• Philip Glass
  • Satyagraha (1980)

  • Dunvagen Music Publishers Inc (World)

Commissioned by the City of Rotterdam

Opera in three acts.
Libretto (Sanskrit) by the composer and Constance DeJong, adapted from the Bhagavad-Gita.

  • 3.3.3+bcl.2/
  • SATB (large chorus)
  • 2 Sopranos, 2 Mezzo Sopranos, 2 Tenors, Baritone, 2 Basses
  • 3 hr
  • the composer and Constance DeJong, adapted from the Bhagavad-Gita
  • English, Sanskrit

Programme Note

M. K. Gandhi - tenor
Miss Schlesen, Gandhi's secretary - soprano
Kasturbai, Gandhi's wife - alto
Mr. Kallenbach, European co-worker - baritone
Parsi Rustomji, Indian co-worker - bass
Mrs. Naidoo, Indian co-worker - soprano
Mrs. Alexander, European friend - alto
Lord Krishna, mythological character from the Bhagavad-Gita - bass
Prince Arjuna, mythological character from the Bhagavad-Gita - baritone

Non-singing parts:
Count Leo Tolstoy, historical figure, Act I
Rabindranath Tagore, historical figure, Act II
Martin Luther King. Jr., historical figure, Act III
Large chorus

The second in Glass' trilogy about men who changed the world, Satyagraha's sub-text is politics. The opera is semi-narrative in form and deals with Mahatma Gandhi's early years in South Africa and his development of non-violent protest into a political tool. (Satyagraha is a Sanskrit word meaning 'truth force'). The first two acts each contain three scenes; the last is one continuous scene. Each act is dominated by a single historic figure (non-singing role) overlooking the action from above: the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore in Act I, the Russian author Leo Tolstoy in act II, the American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., in Act III.


Satyagraha (Highlights): Act II, Tagore, Scene 1 - Confrontation and Rescue (1896)
Satyagraha (Highlights): Act I, Tolstoy, Scene 1 - The Kuru Field of Justice
Satyagraha (Highlights): Act III, King - Part 3
Satyagraha: Act II: Confrontation and Rescue
Satyagraha: Act I: The Kuru Field of Justice
Satyagraha: Act III: Newcastle March
Satyagraha: Act II: Indian Opinion
Satyagraha: Act I: Tolstoy Farm
Satyagraha: Act III: ?
Satyagraha: Act III: Evening Song
Satyagraha: Act II: Protest
Satyagraha: Act I: The Vow