Phelim McDermott first heard Philip Glass’s music in the 1980s while he was still a student and was instantly riveted. The American’s hypnotic compositions have been a wonderful obsession for the maverick British director ever since – “like a river through my life”, as he puts it.

Tao of Glass Phelim McDermott on stage in Tao of Glasswith puppeteer Sara Wright, at the Manchester International Festival, 2019. Photo © Tristram Kenton

McDermott used Glass’s music in the first theatre production he staged after graduating from college, and has directed three of Glass’s operas: Satyagrahaabout Mahatma Gandhi, staged by English National Opera and the Metropolitan Opera; The Perfect Americanabout Walt Disney, co-commissioned by ENO and Teatro Real, Madrid, and presented by Opera Queensland and Brisbane Festival in 2014; and Akhnaten, about the pharaoh who briefly brought monotheism to Egypt, first seen at ENO in 2016 and then the Met, where it was revived late last year and had a sold out season.

Now, a long-held dream of working directly with Glass has finally come true. A new show they created together called Tao of Glass, premiered last July at the Manchester International Festival....

This article is available to Limelight subscribers.

Log in to continue reading.

Access our paywalled content and archive of magazines, regular news and features for the limited offer of $3 per month. Support independent journalism.

Subscribe now