Opera "Satyagraha" - the second part of the trilogy of Philip Glass "Portraits" (first - "Einstein on the beach", 1975, the third - "Ehnaton", 1983). The composer's choice was not accidental. According to him, "Einstein is a scientist; Gandhi is a politician; Akhenaten is a religious figure <...> three people who broke the course of history with the power of their spirit. That's the real theme of my trilogy. " The term "satyagraha" in Sanskrit means "striving for truth", "perseverance in truth." In the first half of the twentieth century, during the period of British rule in India, the tactics of nonviolent struggle for independence in two forms: non-cooperation and civil disobedience developed by Gandhi.
"Satyagraha" was written in 1979 at the request of the Rotterdam Opera House. The world premiere took place on September 5, 1980 in Rotterdam, with the participation of the Utrecht Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Christopher Keane. In 1981, the opera was staged at the Art Park in Lewiston (Maine, USA) and at the Stuttgart Opera (in 1990, the entire trilogy "Portraits" was presented). The premiere of the opera in the UK took place in 1997 - it was a joint production of the University of Bath Spa (London), College of Fromum Community (Somerset County) and Kingswood Theater.
In 2007, the premiere of "Satyagrahi" was performed at the English National Opera, in co-productions with the Metropolitan Opera (in New York, the premiere took place in 2008). The production was resumed in London in 2010, at the Metropolitan in 2011 (on November 19, 2011 it was broadcasted from the Met on the air). In 1983, a recording was released, followed by a videotape of the play "Satyagraha" in Stuttgart. In 1984 there was a recording with the participation of soloists, chorus and orchestra "New York City Opera". The action takes place in 1893-1914. in South Africa. "Satyagraha" is not a "plot" opera, but a symbolic set of episodes depicting a portrait of a historical person whose ideas radically changed the picture of the world.