Most recent performance
There are currently no scheduled performances of The Trial. It was last on stage 10–18 October 2014 as part of the Autumn 2014/15 season.
On his 30th birthday Josef K. is arrested by an unknown authority for an unspecified crime. All his efforts to understand the charge are foiled. Those around him are deeply concerned that he is not taking the case seriously.
On the eve of his 31st birthday two men arrive for K. He goes with them and guides them through the town to a quarry. They place his head on a block and stab him through the heart.
The Trial is Philip Glass's second 'pocket' opera based on the writings of Franz Kafka, and his first work created specifically for Music Theatre Wales, in celebration of the company's 25th birthday. Glass has a long relationship with the company, describing them as 'wonderful to work with… they seem to like these "odd" pieces of mine, and they do them very well. I think of my pocket operas as neutron bombs – small, but packing a terrific punch'.
Glass has won worldwide acclaim for his operas, which include Satyagraha and Einstein on the Beach. Music Theatre Wales gave a sell-out tour in 2010 of Glass's previous Kafka opera, In the Penal Colony, a work of blistering intensity and dark claustrophobia. Playwright and screenwriter Christopher Hampton (whose opera credits include Glass's Appomattox) collaborates with Glass on this adaptation of one of the great classics of 20th-century literature.
News and features
13 October 2014
What did you think of Philip Glass's operatic adaptation of Franz Kafka's classic novel?
10 October 2014
The American composer tells BBC Radio 4 why audiences shouldn't worry about musical theory, and the importance of government funding.
9 October 2014
In his most famous stories this iconic author explored the relentless tedium of working life.
30 September 2014
Our quick guide to this world premiere, based on Franz Kafka's novel.
29 September 2014
Glass’s music – love it or hate it – has had a profound effect on wider pop culture.
Watch: Philip Glass introduces The Trial - ‘It's a wise-comedy that goes right to the heart of social questions'1 August 2014
The acclaimed composer discusses his new opera, based on Kafka’s classic novel, and reveals the composing 'tricks' he uses when writing.