Opera Moderne’s fall production of Viktor Ullmann’s opera Der Kaiser von Atlantis (The Emperor from Atlantis) drew enthusiastic audiences, sold-out houses and critical accolades (Read our praises of the production HERE). This rarely-performed 20th century work was so successful that Opera Moderne is reprising the production on February 1, 2 and 3, 2013. Viktor Ullmann’s allegorical tale of Hitler, thinly disguised as Death, will be performed at Bohemian National Hall, 321 E. 73rd Street in New York City. Opera Moderne presents this production in collaboration with the Austrian Cultural Forum and the Czech Center. Complete performance details and ticket information are below.
Der Kaiser von Atlantis is a one-act opera by Viktor Ullmann with libretto by Peter Kien. The tale is of an Emperor engaging in a war in which there will be no survivors. Death takes offense at his role being usurped, and refuses to do his job. He acquiesces only after the Emperor makes the ultimate fatal deal with him.
The award-winning Austrian Markus Kupferblum, who is acclaimed for his expertise in Commedia dell’arte, directs. Opera Moderne’s executive director, Rebecca Greenstein, is the opera’s producer. She devised the production’s unique design, inspired by the “Steam punk” Victorian-futuristic style of sci-fi genres, which is executed in costumes, make-up and sets. Opera Moderne joins forces with the acclaimed instrumental ensemble, Le Train Bleu, led by Metropolitan Opera flutist and conductor Ransom Wilson.
The cast of Der Kaiser von Atlantis includes Tenor Brian Downen, who has been praised by Opera News as having “a voice of fine lyric beauty coupled with a strikingly handsome stage persona,” Baritone Brace Negron whose recent engagements include roles with San Antonio Opera and Hubbard Hall Opera Theatre, and Baritone Vince Vincent winner of the Iris Henwood Richards award from Central City Opera.
Viktor Ullmann and Peter Kien were inmates at the Nazi concentration camp of Theresienstadt (Terezín), when they collaborated on the opera in 1943. While the opera received a rehearsal at Theresienstadt in March 1944, it was never performed there, as the Nazi authorities saw the work as a satire on Adolf Hitler and banned the opera. Both the composer and the librettist were killed later that year in the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Opera Moderne’s production of Der Kaiser von Atlantis by Viktor Ullmann will be performed on February 1 and 2 at 8 pm and February 3 at 4 pm, at Bohemian National Hall, 321 E. 73rd Street in New York City. Tickets are $45 for general admission and $65 for premium reserved seating and can be purchased at www.OperaModerne.com.