‘G’ : Being the Confession and Last Testament of Johannes Gutenberg, (also known as Gensfleisch, Master Printer, formerly of Strasbourg and Mainz (2002).) Opera. Music by Gavin Bryars.

‘The year of my birth,
the cause of my death,
my character and appearance
– no one knows the first thing.

G’ was commissioned to be staged in Mainz, near Frankfurt, for the year 2000, officially treated as the six hundredth anniversary of Gutenberg’s birth. But the refurbishment of the opera house in Mainz meant that the premiere was delayed until 2002 – in the meantime Blake went on to publish his novel about Gutenberg, which was inspired by his work on the libretto. The opera falls into two acts, the first set in Strasbourg, the second in Mainz, with the framing device of a prologue and epilogue in which Gutenberg, reluctantly roused from the dead to tell his story, looks back on what he achieved with his invention.

More information and review on Gavin Bryars’ website

Gavin Bryars (left) with Kathy and Blake Morrison, on the First Night Mainz 23 February 2002