Tag Archives: Phelim McDermott

Satyagraha, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, February 2018

Non-violence — is there a positive word for it? In creating a proactive term for non-violence in action Gandhi invented satyagraha from two Sanskrit roots, satya meaning truth, and agraha meaning holding on to. It is the underlying theme for the three acts of this opera, representing past, present and future, but standing outside time …

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Akhnaten, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, March 2016

This final opera in Philip Glass’s trilogy on men who changed history — Einstein, Gandhi, Akhnaten — last seen here in 1987, well deserves Phelim McDermott’s spectacular new production. Akhnaten may not be a household name like the other two, but this eighteenth dynasty Egyptian king who temporarily overturned the Egyptian religion with his monotheistic …

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Così fan tutte, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, May 2014

In this new co-production with the Met in New York, English National Opera has a winner. During the overture a dozen circus performers (strongman, bearded lady, sword swallower, dwarves et al) emerge from a chest and are a continuous background presence, reminding me of the Commedia del Arte figures in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos. Each …

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Satyagraha, English National Opera, London Coliseum, December 2013

The performance on 6th December 2013 was a special occasion, quite unplanned. Philip Glass’s paean to the peaceful revolution embodied by Mahatma Gandhi, with its allusions to Martin Luther King, whose back-view we see in Act III, speaking on a podium, was preceded by a commemoration for Nelson Mandela, who had died just 24 hours …

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The Perfect American, English National Opera, London Coliseum, June 2013

The scenes in this new Philip Glass opera are set mainly in Southern California where Walt Disney lived, worked and died, but there is an early scene in Marceline, Missouri where he spent his childhood. Or did he? Certainly he looked back on his four or five years in Marceline as giving him everything, but …

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The Enchanted Island, Metropolitan Opera live cinema relay, January 2012

Shakespeare’s Tempest with the lovers from Midsummer Night’s Dream thrown in, all to music by Handel, Vivaldi, Rameau, et al, with fabulous costumes, sets, and even mermaids. This enterprising creation by Jeremy Sams, following an original idea by the Met’s general manager Peter Gelb, is an innovative project that really succeeds, particularly in Act II. When I first went to …

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Satyagraha, English National Opera, ENO at the London Coliseum, February 2010

The production … has a rather ethereal quality, and as a friend of mine said, “I was left humming peaceful thoughts all the way home”.

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