PHILIP GLASS (b.1937): Waiting for the Barbarians.
Catalogue Number: 08K116
Label: Orange Mountain Music
Reference: OMM 0039
Description: Glass' 2005 opera is based on J.M.Coetzee's novel, a savage indictment of repressive regimes that justify any degree of inhumanity in the furtherance of their irrational scheming, and of the individuals whose complicity protects and assists such regimes. The protagonist is a mildly corrupt local bureaucrat, whose comfortable existence and casual dalliances with local women is abruptly disturbed by the arrival of the military. Under orders to prove the necessity of a futile war with the Barbarians of the title - a harmless tribe of nomads - the officers resort to torture and the execution of prisoners. Revolted, the bureaucrat rescues a tortured Barbarian girl and returns her to her people, and is condemned as a traitor and is himself humiliated and tortured. Musically, the piece fits right in with Glass' canon of operas on themes of social injustice and the possibility of change, from Satyagraha through Akhnaten to The Making of the Representative ... The first act is all urgency, propulsive rhythms overlain by plangent, protesting vocal lines; the second, after the harrowing torture scene (presented somewhat abstractly, with a minimum of Grand Guignol expressionism in the musical material) tends toward a softer, more lyrical mood, with a final suggestion of hope through the persistence of decency in at least some people. Libretto included. Richard Salter, Eugene Perry, Michael Tews, Elvira Soukop, Kelly God (singers), Erfurt Theatre Opera Choir, Erfurt Philharmonic Orchestra; Dennis Russell Davies.