Found: A lost Krishna opera by famed British composer

Found: A lost Krishna opera by famed British composer


norman lebrecht

April 07, 2020

Grange Park Opera has announced the discovery of a major work by Sir John Tavener (1944–2013), the minimalist British composer

Tavener wrote his final opera, titled Krishna, in 2005. It has remained in manuscript until now but Grange plan to stage it in its Theatre in the Woods in June 2024, directed by Sir David Pountney.

Krishna tells the life of Krishna in 15 vignettes. The text is Tavener’s own. Krishna is born when the earth is crying for help and in the final scene, he rises into Paradise until the earth needs him again.

Grange Park Opera chief Wasfi Kani says: ‘David Pountney brought me the project and within two days I was at Chester Music examining the 358 giant sheets of Tavener’s manuscript. It quickly became clear this was a masterpiece that needed to be brought to life. We are now actively searching for collaborators to give premières in Europe and, of course, in India.’

Tavener was a mystic who dabbled in several faiths, achieving a rare state of transcendence in his finest works, A Celtic Requiem and Song for Athene, which was played at Princess Diana’s funeral.



  • Alexander Jacoby says:

    Hindu, surely, rather than Buddhist?

  • Sid Hartha says:

    Wow. Wish I could hear a few excerpts from this.

  • Phillip says:

    Krishna is a Hindu god. I was about to share this post with my wife, a born Hindu, but thought better of it: the day is still young here in Bengaluru, and unlike me, she would not be indulgently amused.

  • Peter San Diego says:

    I’m no expert, but isn’t Krishna a Hindu deity? So calling the opera Buddhist might be wrong…

  • John Holmes says:

    >>Krishna is born when the earth is crying for help

    So, it’s time for Krishna right now

  • Liam Bauress says:

    Not a Buddhist opera of course, Krishna being a Hindu deity.

  • Dragonetti says:

    Unless someone knows otherwise in this instance, surely Krishna is a Hindu deity?
    Just wondering…

  • yujafan says:

    Fantastic! This will be fascinating indeed… can’t wait!

  • T Wilson says:

    Can we not refer to JT as ‘minimalist’? A very misleading statement.