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The Trial

Philip Glass, one of the world's most popular contemporary composers, creates a new work for Music Theatre Wales based on Kafka's nightmarish novel.

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.

The Story

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.

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