1 August 2014 at 5.43pm | Comment on this article
‘Kafka was way beyond everybody in his vision of what the world was really like,’ says Philip Glass of the author whose work has inspired his new opera, The Trial. ‘[His writing] is so stark, that it’s scary. He thought his writing was very funny but at the same time he saw the political and social world we are involved in with a clarity that very few writers have ever seen.’
The opera, which will be directed by Michael McCarthy and features a libretto by award-winning playwright and screenwriter Christopher Hampton, was created specially for Music Theatre Wales, and is Glass’s second ‘pocket’ opera based on the writings of Franz Kafka. It follows In the Penal Colony, which had its premiere in 2010.
The Trial tells the story of a bank clerk who is arrested one day for reasons unknown. The work is described by Michael McCarthy as a ‘parable for any society at any time and for any individual’. Watch an interview with Michael, and Christopher Hampton.
'For you as the reader, it's like looking at a picture book,’ says Glass of the process of adapting a Kafka novel into an opera. ‘That makes it easy to stage, because he tells you what to do. Sometimes the music can follow the image exactly, but [occasionally] we start moving away from it, and the further away you get, the more it allows the spectator to participate in the interpretation.’
‘This will be a piece of real entertainment. It’s quite serious, but also hilariously funny. It’s kind of like a wise-comedy, but at the same time, it goes to the heart of social questions.’