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London opera to stage production on Gandhi

A production based on Gandhi's life in SA and written entirely in Sanskrit will be presented on the British stage.

india Updated: Mar 17, 2006 18:31 IST

A production based on Mahatama Gandhi's life in South Africa and written entirely in Sanskrit will be presented for the first time on British stage by English National Opera.

'Satyagraha', named after Mahatma Gandhi's method of passive resistance, was composed by Philip Glass in the 1980s but has never been staged in Britain because of its scale and cryptic nature.

It tells the story of Gandhi's time in South Africa where he fought for the civil rights of the Indian diaspora.

John Berry, the artistic director of the London company which is well-known for its productions being sung in English, said that he had yet to decide how to make the show accessible to the audience.

"We have to work out how we're going to subtitle it," he said. "The difficulty is that what you hear - the Sanskrit - has nothing to do with the story. It's really quite wordy. Clearly there has to be something to help the audience."

The language, which is used to create a mood rather than to narrate the story, is the one used in the Bhagavad Gita, that Gandhi read every day.

The production is to be part of the 2006-07 season, which was hastily put together in less than three months.

First Published: Mar 17, 2006 18:31 IST