Jan-Jan Van Essche

Before Gandhi set foot on the world political stage and led the Indian independence movement as Mahatma (“great soul”), he spent his formative years in South Africa where his response to discrimination and injustice was to develop the concept of non-violent resistance under the name Satyagraha (“the power of truth”). Those early years in Gandhi’s life inspired the American composer Philip Glass to write his opera Satyagraha. Using verses from the ancient Indian poem of the Bhagavad Gita, one of the central texts of Hinduism, and with the aid of mesmerizing, almost hypnotic music, Glass created a ritual “redemption play” about the human beings’ capacity to influence history through their own actions – irrespective of time and space. Jan-Jan Van Essche was asked to join forces for the costumes.

Premiere: April 2017
Choreography: Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
Set design : Henrik Ahr
Music composition : Philip Glass
Producer: Theater BAsel
Co-producers: Komischen Oper Berlin / Vlaamse Opera / Eastman
All images: Koen Broos