A modern masterpiece makes its long-awaited Met premiere and on November 23 Rialto Theatre brings a live broadcast of it. Director Phelim McDermott tackles another one of Philip Glass’ masterpieces, following the now-legendary Met staging of Satyagraha.
Akhnaten is one of Philip Glass’ three large-scale operas based on a big idea, in this case, monotheism, following Einstein on the Beach, which dealt with new notions of time and space, and Satyagraha, which explored the spiritual and political revelation of non-violence. Satyagraha and Akhnaten, especially, deal largely with the unseen forces affecting the inner (psychological), interpersonal (political), and universal (mystical) aspects of existence, subjects that are uniquely portrayed by the composer’s entrancing musical lines.
Star countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo is the title pharaoh, the revolutionary ruler who transformed ancient Egypt, with the striking mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges in her Met debut as his wife, Nefertiti. To match the opera’s hypnotic, ritualistic music, director McDermott has created an arresting vision that includes a virtuosic company of acrobats and jugglers.
For those new to Philip Glass’ work note that he is a prolific and influential American composer whose diverse body of work has included film scores, chamber music, music for dance and other theatrical pieces, and various forms of opera. For the libretto, Glass worked with a team of collaborators to create a text that incorporates ancient inscriptions and letters, the Bible’s Psalm 104, and a Fodor guide to Egypt.
Met broadcast of Philip Glass’ opera, Akhnaten. November 23. Rialto Theatre, Limassol. With Greek and English subtitles. 7.55pm. €18-14. Tel: 7777-7745