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30 Oct 2005

Barbarians as a compelling chorus

[Sydney Morning Herald, 31 October 2005]

Philip Glass's latest work is presented as a powerful morality play, writes John Carmody.

J.M. Coetzee's novel Waiting for the Barbarians is a literary masterpiece, multi-layered, rich in metaphor, allusive yet fierce in its ethical concerns.

But because of that very delicacy in its texture and, in particular, the importance for its artistic structure of the troubled dreaming of its central character, the narrating Magistrate, I was sceptical whether the librettist Christopher Hampton and the composer Philip Glass could really transform it into an opera, despite their enormous theatrical experience.

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