Nothing says Christmas like a tale of torture by Kafka and the music of Philip Glass.
Philip Glass' one act chamber opera, In the Penal Colony, was composed and premiered in 2000 by A Contemporary Theater in Seattle. The libretto is by Rudolph Wurlitzer from the story by Franz Kafka.
A condemned man is about to be executed. The Officer describes the execution machine to the Visitor, detailing its conception, its construction, and finally its method. The method of execution is the most horrific and inhumane imaginable. The Officer's zealous dedication to this method is based on his belief that the machine has the power to bring about a moment of transfiguration in the victim, the moment they understand the crime they have committed. When the Officer realizes that his beliefs will no longer be accepted, there is only one course left. The real horror of the machine is now revealed.
Scored for string quintet and two singers, this is the world premiere recording by the Music Theatre Wales under the direction of Michael Rafferty, with tenor Michael Bennett as the Visitor and baritone Omar Ebrahim as the Officer. This studio recording was made at the Angel Recording Studios in November 2010