The opera by Philip Glass is based on Coetzee's book and Christopher Hampton's libretto adapts the story faithfully. The opera premiered on September 10, 2005, at the Theater of Erfurt, Germany, under the direction of Guy Montavon. The lead role of the Magistrate was sung by British baritone Richard Salter, Colonel Joll by American baritone Eugene Perry, who has starred in a number of Glass operas, and the barbarian girl by Elvira Soukop. The musical director of the premiere was Dennis Russell Davies. As Glass told journalists and the Erfurt audience at a matinée, he sees scary parallels between the opera's story and the Iraq War: a military campaign, scenes of torture, talk about threats to the Empire's peace and safety, but no proof. The Austin Lyric Opera performed the American premiere of Waiting for the Barbarians on January 19, 2007, conducted by Richard Buckley and under the direction of Guy Montavon, who was joined again by Richard Salter and Eugene Perry as the Magistrate and Colonel Joll, respectively, and mezzo-soprano Adriana Zabala as the Barbarian Girl. In August 2012, the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town presented Alexandre Marine's stage adaptation of the novel. The production toured at Montreal's Segal Centre for Performing Arts in January and February, 2013.
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