Opera Australia performs Philip Glass masterpiece in Melbourne

In a one-night-only, Melbourne exclusive concert, Opera Australia will present its premiere performance of Philip Glass’ hypnotic masterpiece, Satyagraha at Hamer Hall on Saturday 13 May.

Performed in its original Sanskrit, this operatic depiction of Mahatma Gandhi’s early years of nonviolent protest in South Africa is set to the mesmerising minimalist compositions for which Glass is renowned.

For the first time, in the challenging role of Gandhi, is Indian-born tenor Shanul Sharma, who began his musical career as a heavy metal vocalist before making an unusual transition into the world of opera. Sharma debuted with Opera Australia in 2014, and in his premiere performance with the company became the first Indian-born Australian to perform as a principal artist in any Australian opera company.

Helpmann-nominated, Australian soprano Rachelle Durkin will portray Gandhi’s secretary Mrs Schlesen, reprising a role which she performed to great acclaim with the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Performing with the national company in her home city, Australian soprano Olivia Cranwell will make her role debut in this production, returning to the Hamer Hall stage after her portrayal of The Confidante in Victorian Opera’s production of Elektra last year was deemed “exceptionally strong” by Classic Melbourne.

Iranian-born mezzo soprano Agnes Sarkis will make her role debut as Kasturbai, Gandhi’s wife, after performing in the highly acclaimed production of Madama Butterfly on Sydney Harbour as the loyal Suzuki.

Rounding out the leading cast are Opera Australia principals Andrew Moran, Richard Anderson, Sian Sharp and Alexander Sefton, all of whom will be making role debuts in this unique musical experience.

The substantial four-part chorus in Satyagraha will be performed by the world-class Opera Australia Chorus, whose gravitas will enhance Glass’ powerful choral writing.

Opera Australia Head of Music, Tahu Matheson, will lead Orchestra Victoria in this challenging piece which uniquely does not feature any brass or percussion instruments and rather focuses on strings and woodwind to highlight the central theme of peace and nonviolence in this piece.

Directed by acclaimed director Andy Morton, this concert performance of Satyagraha showcases the brilliance of Philip Glass’ highly influential composition style and the superb talent who will bring it to life.

Season Details

Venue: Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne
Dates: 13 May 2023

For more information click HERE

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