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Airs Sunday, April 22, 2012 at 12:30 p.m. on KPBS TV

Richard Croft portrays Gandhi in Philip Glass’ unforgettable opera,

Credit: Courtesy of Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

Above: Richard Croft portrays Gandhi in Philip Glass’ unforgettable opera, "Satyagraha."

Philip Glass’s inspirational opera "Satyagraha" (Sanskrit for “truth force”), in the first revival of Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch’s innovative 2008 production, airs on THIRTEEN’s GREAT PERFORMANCES AT THE MET.

The opera, which earned exceptional praise in its Met premiere, is based on Mahatma Gandhi’s early life in South Africa, where he developed the revolutionary philosophy of non-violent resistance that continues to be used in protests around the world.

“Almost all the techniques of protest—now the common currency of contemporary political life—were invented and perfected by Gandhi during his South Africa years,” Glass has said.

McDermott and Crouch’s production uses a combination of large-scale puppetry, sets made of materials such as corrugated metal and newspaper, and projected supertitles to immerse the viewer in Glass’s poetic world. Conductor Dante Anzolini leads a cast that features Richard Croft, reprising his critically acclaimed interpretation of Gandhi.

"Satyagraha" is divided into three acts, each inspired by a major historical figure: the Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, the Bengali writer Rabindranath Tagore, and the American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The plot of the opera follows Gandhi through his formative years as a young attorney in South Africa, where his firsthand experience of racial inequality inspired him to create the movement of non-violent resistance that would define his life and work.

The Sanskrit libretto, by Glass and Constance DeJong, is taken from the "Bhaghavad Gita." Croft is joined by two of the other leads of the Met premiere production, Rachelle Durkin as Miss Schlesen and Alfred Walker as Parsi Rustomji, and Kim Josephson in the role of Mr. Kallenbach.

Bass-baritone Eric Owens hosts. Barbara Willis Sweete directs the telecast.


Preview: Great Performances At The Met: Satyagraha

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Watch Satyagraha on PBS. See more from Great Performances.

Richard Croft portrays Gandhi in Philip Glass' unforgettable opera, "Satyagraha," which The Washington Post calls "a profound and beautiful work of theater."

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