The Trial by Phillip Glass – MTW 2014 World Premiere production released on CD
The long-awaited CD release of our World Premiere production of Philip Glass’s latest opera, The Trial, is now available in the UK on Philip Glass’s own recording label, Orange Mountain Music.
Based on Kafka’s unfinished novel – a bleak fable about an innocent man, arrested, tried and executed for a crime that is never defined – the opera has a libretto by playwright Christopher Hampton and was composed especially for Music Theatre Wales, whose history with Glass goes back to the early days of the company in the late 1980s, when we gave the UK premiere of his Fall of the House of Usher. The opera, directed by Artistic Director Michael McCarthy, was premiered in October 2014 at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre, and the production has since been seen in Scotland, Germany, South Korea. In 2017 it received its US premiere at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis.
The Trial is one of Glass’s smaller-scale operas requiring just eight singers, most of whom play multiple roles, and an orchestra of 12 players – here the Music Theatre Wales Ensemble conducted by Michael Rafferty. The cast is led by much-garlanded young baritone Johnny Herford as the opera’s protagonist Josef K, and soprano Amanda Forbes as Fraülein Bürstner. Other roles are sung by Rowan Hellier (mezzo), Paul Curievici (tenor), Michael Bennett (tenor), Gwion Thomas (baritone), Nicholas Folwell (bass-baritone) and Michael Druiett (bass).
At its Royal Opera House premiere The Guardian described the opera as a “convincing and successful piece of music theatre” and many reviewers noted with interest that Glass had added jazz-inflected rhythms and something of a hint of Weimar cabaret to his more typical instrumental textures.
The Trial: opera in two acts by Philip Glass; libretto by Christopher Hampton based on the book by Franz Kafka
Music Theatre Wales conducted by Michael Rafferty
Orange Mountain Music - OMM0118 (2 CD set) SRP: £26.00