Interview with Satyagraha director Tilde Björfors

A conversation between dramatist Magnus Lindman as well as director Tilde Björfors

Lindman: So, how much is actually a circus director enjoying opera?

Björfors: I have come to appreciate of which Glass’ music is actually perfect circus music. There’s something about This particular sense of the ecstatic, of which the music is actually continuously reaching brand new heights with minor tweaks of which suit the circus we are doing here. There are plenty of similarities between circus as well as opera. They are two incredibly virtuosic art forms. Both try to make the impossible possible as well as cross the physical as well as perhaps mental borders of what we humans are capable of doing. We have a center for weightlessness in our brain of which develops inside womb as we float around. as well as the item is actually activated when we see people flying. A physical sensation of which we otherwise have forgotten about.

Lindman: If we are to keep to the fetus stage, This particular also applies to opera. Voices… hearing is actually perhaps the first sense a child experiences in life. So, what does of which have to do with us—a primal scene, a meeting between sound as well as weightlessness?

Björfors: Circus is actually about life as well as death, when you are going to perform the most difficult things, you must be so present inside moment of which you are totally naked. as well as the item’s the same thing with opera notes, too. When you are going to reach these notes—you go beyond the made-up, as the item were. They are not intellectual art forms inside first instance, they are emotional, or physical…

Lindman: Perhaps we can say they are not bound by words alone. as well as This particular is actually especially so in Satyagraha. The libretto is actually in Sanskrit. An ancient Indian language of which is actually spoken by very few people today. In different words, a language of which you can guarantee almost nobody understands. the item is actually a way to escape via the reasoning-based nature of the word—logos—as well as the demand by contemporary, or should we say Western people to always be able to understand what is actually going on. In which case, how are we going to be able to tell a story?

Björfors: I don’t see the item as Philip Glass trying to tell the story of Ghandi’s life as well as history. His aim is actually more to understand Gandhi via the inside as well as of which we through the music should experience these events as well as how This particular individual with his pathos of justice came to be.

Lindman: The libretto is actually a very carefully chosen selection of verses via the holy scripture Bhagavad-Gita. nevertheless rather than spoken lines, the verses in Sanskrit are given to different singers.

Björfors: We want to create order as well as stay in control. What Glass tries to do is actually to pull the rug via under us as well as so enable us to experience the story on another level.

Lindman: We are, however, going to translate certain verses inside production.

Björfors: This particular is actually to provide a sense of grounding in any case. nevertheless the item is actually not the libretto as such of which helps us to understand what is actually happening inside first place, the item is actually more the story of which emerges via the entirety. The situations Gandhi found himself in at of which time are reflected in a script of which is actually thousands of years older. as well as the item is actually the same human dilemma of which we are facing today, which means Satyagraha is actually always relevant. The actions I take today are reflected in future generations. These actions should not only do Great inside here as well as at This particular point, nevertheless also in a broader as well as longer perspective.

Lindman: Glass is actually a very keen student of Indian philosophy as well as culture. as well as Satyagraha’s structure challenges our Western information mind set. What is actually meaning? What does the item mean to understand?

Björfors: We are perhaps used to another form of storytelling. nevertheless Satyagraha’s structure is actually totally thought through. The more I work with the item, the more I realize how thought through the item is actually. What appears to be disordered is actually actually full of a different kind of order.

Lindman: We begin with the mythical battlefield. The meeting between the God Krishna as well as Arjuna, who inside case of the opera, becomes Gandhi. The situation of which is actually the starting point for the Bhagavad-Gita. Where the fundamental question to act or not to act is actually posed.

Björfors: The three biographical acts then follow. They are not chronological, nevertheless we make the same journey three times, deeper as well as deeper each time. What Glass does, I think, is actually of which via the spirit of Ghandi, he relates to of which which has gone before us as well as of which which lies ahead of us. We move through history through the same highs as well as lows, peaks as well as troughs, time as well as time again.

Lindman: Glass depicts This particular by naming the different acts after three historic fights for justice: Leo Tolstoy, the Russian author who preached non-violence as well as was labelled a Christian anarchist, Indian author as well as Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore, who fought against British colonial rule, as well as US civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr. of which was his thinking, when Glass composed the opera, 35 years ago. However, if we imagine a fourth act being written today. Who would certainly you put inside heading for of which?

Björfors: Naturally, I think to myself: where are all the women? I grew up inside 1970s as well as was very affected by the books about Katitzi written by the Swedish author Katarina Taikon. These stories depict questions of injustice, ignorance, as well as exclusion through the eyes of a child. Which got you thinking of which the item was also important to do things for different people, not just for yourself. Which is actually why one act could be named after Katarina Taikon, perhaps. We do not know today who the Martin Luther King Jr. or Gandhi of the future will be. is actually he or she among the people who campaign for human rights around the planet? We all contain the chance to be the person who makes a difference. the item could be you as well as the item could be me.

Lindman: You usually refer to a Gandhi quote: “all through history, there have been tyrants as well as murderers, as well as for a time, they seem invincible. nevertheless inside end, they always fall. Always. Truth as well as love have always won.”

Björfors: Wanting truth as well as love is actually not given a high status in society today. For me, the meeting with Gandhi has reminded me of how much power This particular contains within the item. the item is actually perhaps far more feasible to hold fast to the philosophy of Satyagraha than to build walls as well as close borders.

—Magnus Lindman, Dramatist

© 2018 Brooklyn Academy of Music, Inc. All rights reserved.

Interview with Satyagraha director Tilde Björfors

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