Accessibility links

|

Sign In
Basket
Basket

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.

Most recent performance

There are currently no scheduled performances of Christ lag in Todes Banden / The Emperor of Atlantis. It was last on stage 5–12 October 2012.

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.

On Wikipedia

Der Kaiser von Atlantis oder Die Tod-Verweigerung (The Emperor of Atlantis or The Disobedience of Death) is a one-act opera by Viktor Ullmann with a libretto by Peter Kien. They collaborated on the work while interned in the Nazi concentration camp of Theresienstadt (Terezín) around 1943. The Nazis did not allow it to be performed there. The world premiere, presented by the Netherlands Opera at the Bellevue Centre, Amsterdam, took place on 16 December 1975. It was conducted by Kerry Woodward using the first performing edition, which he had been actively involved in preparing.The title is sometimes given as Der Kaiser von Atlantis, oder Der Tod dankt ab, that is, The Emperor of Atlantis, or Death Abdicates, and described as a "legend in four scenes" rather than an opera.

Abstract taken from the Wikipedia article Der Kaiser von Atlantis, available under a Creative Commons license.