Thursday, January 29, 2009

Feb 1-11: The Emperor Of Atlantis

I've been out of town, so this one snuck up on me. A Soul Foodie, Pat, emailed asking if I knew about the show, which is playing at the Norman Rothstein. I didn't, so she filled me in...

Well, I know what I heard on the CBC. It is an opera, a short one, (1 hour)
that was written in a concentration camp. It was the camp which the Nazis
set up as a model to show the Allies and the rest of the world how
benevolent they were, and how humane their camps were. In it they
incarcerated all the top Jewish and other "non-Aryan" artists, musicians,
poets, writers, intellectuals. The musicians had access to all of their
instruments, a studio, and a Theatre. So, 2 composers composed, in part,
The Emperor of Atlantis. It was a thinly disguised satire of the Regime,
and the project was dismantled, the composers were executed, the musicians
were sent of the work camps, and only 2 young violin players survived, and
the opera survived.

Parts of it were played on the radio, beautiful music, especially beautiful,
perhaps, after hearing the amazing story.

We are not opera buffs, but the story was so captivating, and it is only 1
hour long, so we are going. It is only being performed 4 times, this Sunday
is sold out. Open seating, and the tickets are $40.


at the Norman Rothstein Theatre

Presented by
the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre & City Opera Vancouver
by Viktor Ullmann & Petr Kien
Norman Rothstein Theatre
(950 West 41st Avenue at Oak)

The Emperor of Atlantis is a unique, compelling and deeply moving chamber opera. Its score survived the Nazis. Its creators did not. Although perhaps the finest piece of performance art from its place and era, productions are rare. It has never been produced before in British Columbia.

The opera speaks both to transformation and recurrence. It speaks from the nadir of the 20th century to the continued violence and despair of the 21st. Ullmann and Kien together with their colleagues at Thereisenstadt, created a masterwork.

Among seven characters, two are principal: Death, and The Emperor. Horrified by the murderousness of the Emperor and his regime, Death goes on strike. People are killed but do not die. The Emperor demands that Death resume his business. Death finally agrees, but on one condition ...

When the Nazis realized what Atlantis was about, they shipped its entire company off to Auschwitz. Only its art remains.

All tickets: $40.00 (s/c included)

Sunday Feb 1st: 2:00pm matinee
Feb 4th, 7th. 9th, 11th : 8:00pm

Order By Phone: 604.684.2787
Call Centre Hours
Monday to Friday 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Sunday 11:00 am - 4:00 pm

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