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Philip Glass Occupies Lincoln Center — and His Own Opera, “Satyagraha”

Philip Glass Occupies Lincoln Center — and His Own Opera, “Satyagraha”

Tonight is a big one for Philip Glass, the iconic Jewish composer who turns 75 next month. It will be the last night of the Met staging of Glass' Gandhi opera, "Satyagraha," and Glass will also be there — to protest it. Glass announced on his website this week that he will be joining Occupy Wall Street's planned "Occupy Lincoln Center" protest outside the opera house tonight (Thurs., Dec. 1). And Glass will appear at 10:30 p.m., a half hour before the opera ends, to give a speech in support of the protesters.

It should be a hell of a show, for both the music and the protest. The music, after all, is transcendent, an austere, celestial paean to everyone's favorite non-violent icon. The Gandhi opera debuted in 1980, in Rotterdam, but the Met re-staged it three years ago; they brought it back this year, on account of the composer's 75th birthday, which the city has been downright mad over. Several concerts in his honor have already happened, and many more will take place throughout the coming months.

But tonight's performance is special. Not only because it's the last of "Satyagraha" stagings, but also because the composer will be there to protest outside of it. The O.W.S.'ers are using Lincoln Center as symbol of corporate greed, and are highlighting the $100-million grant given by conservative oil tycoon David Koch. The gift was a major peg of the $1.2 billion renovation that's been going on for the last few years. I'd love to know what the back-story is for how they got Glass to come–was it to put him on the spot? You're either with us or you're against us kinda thing? Or did he help bring them there? It's too bad Glass is a difficult interview to snag; but who knows, maybe he'll give us an inside scoop tonight.

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