SCOTTISH Opera bring iconic composer Philip Glass’s operatic take on Franz Kafka’s nightmarish novel The Trial to the King’s Theatre on Friday and Saturday.
Working with librettist and playwright Christopher Hampton, who won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay in 1989 for Dangerous Liaisons, Glass’ take on The Trial captures the chilling drama, paranoia and absurdity of the story of Josef K, a man arrested and tried for an unknown crime.
Glass says, “The horrors of bureaucracy and the fact of turning them into a black comedy - I think from that point of view, there’s absolutely a message in The Trial. But it’s not just gags about a world that has become unhinged, over-complicated, over-supervised, so that it’s impossible for a sensible person even to find his way to the courthouse.”
The opera, which received its world premiere at the Linbury Theatre of the Royal Opera House, in October 2014, is sung in English by an ensemble cast that includes Nicholas Lester, Paul Carey Jones, and three of Scottish Opera’s Emerging Artists Emma Kerr, Hazel McBain, and Elgan Llyr Thomas.
Hampton, who has called Kafka’s novel “one of the great prophetic pieces of work of the 20th century”, says “If you look at the world now, it’s hard not to think that Kafka got it pretty spot on. Both Philip and I insisted on the humour in the piece. I think the danger of adapting something like The Trial is that you somehow fall into solemnity, because it’s such an iconic work - but I think Kafka did have a very sharp sense of humour.’
Directed by Michael McCarthy, The Trail is conducted by Scottish Opera’s Head of Music, Derek Clark and McCarthy adds, ‘When Philip Glass offered to write a new opera based on The Trial I knew we would be in for a treat.”
The Trail, King’s Theatre, Leven Street, Friday & Saturday, 7.15pm, £16-£31, 0131-529 6000