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Christ lag in Todes Banden / The Emperor of Atlantis

James Conway presents a powerful production of this daring political satire. It was created when Viktor Ullman and Peter Kien were imprisoned in a concentration camp during World War II.

Introduction

When Emperor Overall wages war against the world, Death decides to go on strike.

Background

The Emperor of Atlantis (Der Kaiser von Atlantis) is an extraordinary testament of wit and humanity in the face of barbarity. It was created by Viktor Ullman to a libretto by Peter Kien in 1943 when they were inmates in the Nazi concentration camp in Terezín. The score was smuggled out of the camp and the opera had its premiere in Amsterdam in 1975.

Ullman’s score is filled with rich harmonies and displays an eclectic style, with influences ranging from Arnold Schoenberg to jazz. The black comedy draws on Ullman’s earlier experiences as an Austrian soldier in World War I. James Conway, Artistic Director of English Touring Opera, presents a new production of this profoundly moving opera.

The Emperor of Atlantis is preceded by a staging of J.S. Bach’s sublime Christ lag in Todes Banden.