February 2nd, 2011


Der Kaiser von Atlantis

Tonight we went to the Boston Lyric Opera production of Der Kaiser von Atlantis (BLO called it The Emperor of Atlantis or Death Quits and sung it in English).

It was written by Viktor Ullman in 1943 while he was a prisoner in Teresienstadt. Apparently lots of musicians were sent there - there were two symphony orchestras. It was never performed there. In 1944 Ullman and many others who were working on the performance were sent to Auschwitz and killed several days after. The score was found many years later.

It is a rather terrifying opera done in a very avant guard fashion which includes how you are greeted when you arrive and what the theatre looks like inside. We went to a talk-back after it and it was clear that the Director, David Schweizer, is quite brilliant and there was an interesting process of interaction between him, the actors and the set/sound/lighting designers. The acting was really superb.

There is a good writeup about the opera here.
It's being repeated the 4, 5, and 6th. I don't know if this production will be done anywhere else.