An opera in two acts
Music by Philip Glass
Libretto by Christopher Hampton based on the novel by John M. Coetzee
Philharmonisches Orchester Erfurt
Opernchor des Theaters Erfurt
Conducted by Dennis Russell Davies


Orange Mountain Music OMM0039


1. Prelude
2. Scene One – “In fact, we never had a prison”
3. Scene Two – “Dreamscape No.1”
4. Scene Three – “You sent for me.”
5. Scene Four – “You’re working late.”
6. Scene Five – “Normally speaking, we would never approve of torture…”
7. Scene Six – “Take off your cap”
8. Scene Seven – “Dreamscape No.2”
9. Scene Eight – “Do you like living in the town?”
10. Scene Nine – “…To demonstrate our strength to the barbarians”
11. Scene Ten – “Did you have a good evening?”
12. Scene Eleven – “Dreamscape No.3”
13. Scene Twelve – “What is it?”
14. Scene Thirteen – “Can you see them? (Trip into the mountains)
15. Scene Fourteen – “Who gave you permission to desert your post?”

1. Scene One – “Here, In the dark”
2. Scene Two – “Dreamscape No. 4”
3. Scene Three – “What is going on?”
4. Prologue to Scene Four
5. Scene Four – “Perhaps you would be so kind”
6. Scene Five – “Enemy, Barbarian Lover!”
7. Scene Six – “So we’re still feeding you well?”
8. Scene Seven – “Dreamscape No.5”
9. Scene Eight – “Tell me, what has happened”
10. Scene Nine – “You don’t have to go”
11. Scene Ten – “Our town is beautiful”


Magistrate/Prefect: Richard Salter
Colonel Joll: Eugene Perry
Warrant Officer Mandel: Michael Tews
Barbarian Girl: Elvira Soukop
Cook: Kelly God
Star: Marisca Mulder
Old Man: Andreas Mitschke
Peter Umstadt, Maté Solyom-Nagy, Manuel Meyer
Small Girl: Grit Redlich
Child Extra: Titus Laeven


John Coetzee, the South African writer and Nobel Prize Winner for Literature 2003, first published Waiting for the Barbarians as a novel in 1980. I contacted John Coetzee about adapting his book into an opera back in 1991 and made my first treatment of the opera that same year. I’d begun to do this kind of social/political opera in 1979 with Satyagraha, an opera that takes place in South Africa, concerning the life of Gandhi and the possibility of social change through non-violence.

My aim then, as it is now, was to preserve Coetzee’s bold allegorical approach while dramatizing the classic themes of confrontation, crisis and redemption so the audience itself is left weighing the meaning of good and evil in their own lives. To reduce the opera to a single historical circumstance or a particular political regime misses the point. That the opera can become an occasion for dialogue about political crisis illustrates the power of art to turn our attention toward the human dimension of history.

— Philip Glass


Produced by Don Christensen

Executive producers for Orange Mountain Music: Philip Glass, Kurt Munkacsi and Don Christensen
For Orange Mountain Music: Richard Guerin
Design: Don Christensen

Philip Glass music is published by Dunvagen Music Publishers – ASCAP