Music: Melody Stages a Comeback

In an opera about Gandhi, Philip Glass makes Sanskrit sing

Philip Glass's Satyagraha is not your standard opera. For one thing, it is sung in Sanskrit. For another, it dramatizes Mohandas Gandhi's struggle against racial discrimination in South Africa between 1893 and 1914. The libretto is drawn entirely from the Bhagavad-Gita, the sacred Hindu text that served as the moral authority for Gandhi's nonviolent resistance movement—called Satyagraha, after the Sanskrit words for truth and firmness. But perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the opera, given its American premiere at Artpark in Lewiston, N.Y., last...

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