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Days and Nights of Music from Philip Glass and Cohorts in Big Sur and Carmel

August 21, 2018

Neither rain, nor fire, nor mudslides, nor bridge collapses shall keep Philip Glass’s adventurous Days and Nights Festival from taking place in Big Sur and Carmel. Since its inaugural season in 2011, Glass and his wide circle of musical accomplices have presented intriguing new music in intimate settings along one of the nation’s loveliest coastlines, despite the sometimes-challenging conditions Mother Nature has visited on the region.

Last year’s road closures limited presentations to the Carmel venue, but this year the festival spreads out again over the course of two weeks: Sept. 30 – Oct. 3 at the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur, and Oct. 4­–7 at the Golden Bough Playhouse in Carmel.

Week one features two “Indigenous World” concerts. The first, “Spirit of the Earth” at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 30 pairs Glass with the spiritual musical tradition of the Wixarika indigenous people from Santa Catarina Cuexcomatitlán, in Jalisco Mexico. At 7 p.m. the same day, “Philip & Friends” explores the music of Tibet, with Glass joining forces with Tibetan musician Tenzin Choegyal and harpist Lavinia Meijer.

Other events include “Second Attention,” an interactive show about “about human development, indigenous wisdom and the power of connecting with natures energy fields” on Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m., and War and Weather, a work-in-progress viewing of a hand-painted, animated documentary film about stories by Enid Baxter Ryce and featuring the music of Philip Glass, 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 3.

The big news for week two up in Carmel is the presentation of a new production of Glass’s In the Penal Colony, his opera based on the Franz Kafka story of the same name. There will be three shows at the Golden Bough Playhouse: Friday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 7 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The festival describes this co-production with San Francisco’s Opera Parallèle as “s set at the turn of the 20th century on a remote island, where a high-ranking visitor arrives to witness the use of a strange machine in the execution of a prisoner. The story and opera are a parable for the consequences of the abuse of power and corruption.”

An Evening of Glass Music with Three Pianos” rounds out the festival program on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. Philip Glass, Dennis Russell Davies, and Maki Namekawa perform on various combinations of three grand pianos on stage at the Golden Bough. In addition to solo Glass pieces, look forward to Four Movements for Two Pianos performed by Dennis Russell Davies and Maki Namekawa and The Suite from Les Enfants Terribles performed by all three pianists.

Paul Kotapish is the managing editor for SFCV.  You can learn more here or at