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Ela Gandhi | Force of Truth | Satyamania! | Libretto (download pdf)
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The idea for Philip Glass’s opera Satyagraha is deceptively simple: depict Mohandas K. Gandhi’s formative years in South Africa (1893–1914), when he mobilized the oppressed Indian minority and developed the nonviolent civil disobedience movement known as “satyagraha” (Sanskrit for “truth force”). Although Gandhi would soon be thrust onto the world stage, leading India’s efforts to free itself from British rule, his early years abroad were what most intrigued Glass. “The South African years were his most creative period, when the persona whom we now know as Mahatma (‘Great Soul’) Gandhi was being invented,” Glass has written. “Almost all the techniques of social and political protest that are now the common currency of contemporary political life were invented and perfected by the young Gandhi during his South African years.”

Director Phelim McDermott and associate director/set designer Julian Crouch’s inventive new production, co-produced by the Met and English National Opera (ENO), runs April 11 through May 1. Richard Croft stars as Gandhi, and Dante Anzolini conducts

This exhibition, on view through April 19, is a collaboration of the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm; Monday and Thursday from noon to 8:00 pm; and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Historical photographs © Vithalbhai Jhaveri/GandhiServe
ENO production photographs by Catherine Ashmore/Metropolitan Opera
Portrait of Phelim McDermott by Beatriz Schiller/Metropolitan Opera
Mixed-media mural by Tamar Hirschl
Introduction adapted from the Metropolitan Opera Playbill

View online photo gallery

“Brute force has been the ruling factor in the world for thousands of years, and mankind has been reaping its bitter harvest all along, as he who runs may read. There is little hope of anything good coming out of it in the future. If light can come out of darkness, then alone can love emerge from hatred.” – Gandhi, from Satyagraha in South Africa 

Introduction adapted from a Playbill article by Elena Park