Philip Glass, whose roots are in New York’s musical avant-garde, has grown into an artist of international stature. <i>The Times</i> (London) has called him “the most individual force in American opera since Virgil Thomson.” A Composer’s Notes takes the form of an interior monologue as Glass allows us an intimate look at the preliminary thinking, writing and rehearsing of his third opera, <i>Akhnaten</i>. Based on the life of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh who some believe was the first monotheist, <i>Akhnaten</i> completes Glass’ trilogy on the lives of remarkable men.
Two productions of the opera premiered almost simultaneously: the Stuttgart Opera in West Germany, directed by Achim Freyer, and the Houston Grand Opera in Texas, directed by David Freeman. Their dramatically different interpretations of Glass’ material make for a fascinating contrast in American and European theatrical values.