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Last Updated: Monday, 12 September 2005, 08:37 GMT 09:37 UK
Philip Glass opera gets ovation
Philip Glass
Glass said he saw the opera as a critique of the war against Iraq
Composer Philip Glass has received a 15-minute standing ovation at the world premiere of his new opera, Waiting for the Barbarians, in Germany.

The US composer earned the appreciation of the audience in Erfurt, as did his librettist Christopher Hampton.

Based on the novel of the same name by South African writer JM Coetzee, it was Glass' 21st work for the stage.

British baritone Richard Salter was praised for his lead role in the opera dealing with civil rights.

Examining state-sponsored torture and repression, the opera explores the way in which modern-day white society is coming to terms with its legacy of centuries of repression of indigenous black cultures.

Waiting for the Barbarians
Richard Salter (centre) takes the lead role of The Magistrate
The "Barbarians" of the title are nomadic people deemed by the "civilised" whites to be socially and racially inferior.

Glass previously said he saw the opera as a critique of President Bush's administration and its war against Iraq.

However its sets and costumes remain timeless, underlining the universality of Glass' themes. Its music contains all the characteristics of the "minimalist" style that made him famous.

Glass' 27-year career includes an Oscar nomination for his work on Martin Scorsese's film Kundun in 1998.

Waiting for the Barbarians is due to be performed six times at Erfurt Theatre before moving to Amsterdam next spring then to Austin, Texas, in January 2007.

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