© Richard Hubert Smith, www.richardhs.com

The Emperor of Atlantis

Viktor Ullmann - Autumn 2012

Viktor Ullmann’s last opera, and an extraordinary testament of wit and humanity in the face of barbarity.

Conductor 
Peter Selwyn
Director 
James Conway
Designer 
Neil Irish
Lighting Designer 
Guy Hoare

Moves you to tears… A work of subtly nuanced beauty.

5 STARS, The Independent

Sung with passion, wit and clarity, this is English Touring Opera at its boldest.

5 STARS, The Independent on Sunday

Hauntingly powerful and highly recommended.

4 STARS, Guardian

The performers are universally excellent.

4 STARS, Telegraph


Additional footage from The Music of Terezin, by Simon Broughton (BBC, 1985)

Viktor Ullmann’s short opera The Emperor of Atlantis was written when the composer and writer were prisoners at the Terezín concentration camp, and it was first rehearsed by inmates of the camp, most of whom perished when transferred to Auschwitz before the premiere. The score was smuggled out of the camp, and it has been acclaimed in performances around the world as an extraordinary testament of wit and humanity in the face of barbarity.

It is not set in the camp – ironically, this black comedy reflects Ullmann’s experiences as an Austrian soldier in the WWI Italian campaign. In the story, Death, disgusted by war, resolves to go on strike (did someone mention Torchwood?), and drives a hard bargain with the Emperor Overall before going back to work.

Ullmann’s score, jazzy and expressive, is full of humour and pathos, and the opera is deeply moving. James Conway’s new production is paired with a poignant staging of Bach’s sublime cantata Christ lag in Todesbanden (Christ Lay in Death’s Bonds), arranged by Iain Farrington for Ullmann’s unusual orchestra.

Generously supported by the ETO Atlantis Syndicate

New production
Sung in English
Running time: 1 hour and 20 minutes (with no interval)

In most venues, The Emperor of Atlantis will be preceded by Towards an Unknown Port, a 10-minute cycle of songs written by Helen Chadwick in response to the opera and performed by a local amateur choir, followed by a free pre-show talk. Your ticket also entitles you to attend these extra events. Click here for more information.

Discover more

Triumph of the Spirit: read an article about The Emperor of Atlantis on Jessica Duhen’s blog here (originally published in the Independent on Saturday 29 September).

Listen to a radio interview with Auschwitz survivor Otto Grunfeld, who had music lessons with Viktor Ullmann in Terezín. Otto was also joined in this interview by Dr David Fligg from Leeds College of Music and by ETO’s General Director James Conway. Click here to listen to the full version.

The music

The Emperor’s Farewell (sung by Gerard Finley, Tove Dahlberg, Iwona Hossa and Edgaras Montvidas)

Or listen to The Emperor of Atlantis online on Spotify:

Production photography: Richard Hubert Smith, www.richardhs.com

Showing At

  1. Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, London
    5th Oct 2012 - 8:00 pm
  2. Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, London
    12th Oct 2012 - 8:00 pm
  3. West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge
    18th Oct 2012 - 8:15 pm
  4. Alyth Gardens, London, NW11
    20th Oct 2012 - 7:15 pm
  5. Exeter Northcott Theatre
    26th Oct 2012 - 8:15 pm
  6. Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells
    29th Oct 2012 - 8:15 pm
  7. Harrogate Theatre
    3rd Nov 2012 - 8:15 pm
  8. Snape Maltings Concert Hall
    11th Nov 2012 - 4:00 pm
  9. Great Malvern Priory
    14th Nov 2012 - 8:15 pm
  10. Buxton Opera House
    17th Nov 2012 - 8:15 pm
  1. Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, London — 5th Oct 2012 - 8:00 pm

    Covent Garden, London , WC2E 9DD

  2. Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, London — 12th Oct 2012 - 8:00 pm

    Covent Garden, London , WC2E 9DD

  3. West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge — 18th Oct 2012 - 8:15 pm

    11 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DP

  4. Alyth Gardens, London, NW11 — 20th Oct 2012 - 7:15 pm

    North West Reform Synagogue, Alyth Gardens, London, NW11 7EN

  5. Exeter Northcott Theatre — 26th Oct 2012 - 8:15 pm

    Exeter Northcott, Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QB

  6. Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells — 29th Oct 2012 - 8:15 pm

    TN1 2LU

  7. Harrogate Theatre — 3rd Nov 2012 - 8:15 pm

    Harrogate Theatre, Oxford Street, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 1QF

  8. Snape Maltings Concert Hall — 11th Nov 2012 - 4:00 pm

    Aldeburgh Music, Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Snape, Suffolk, IP17 1SP

  9. Great Malvern Priory — 14th Nov 2012 - 8:15 pm

    Church Street, Malvern, Worcestershire, WR14 2AY

  10. Buxton Opera House — 17th Nov 2012 - 8:15 pm

    Water Street, SK17 6XN

Peter Selwyn

Peter Selwyn

Conductor

Born in London, Peter Selwyn began his career on the Music Staff of ENO, before moving to London’s Royal Opera. At the Bayreuth Festival, he worked for three seasons as assistant to Adam Fischer and Giuseppe Sinopoli on Der Ring des Nibelungen. From 1999 to 2005 he was Kapellmeister and Head of Music at the Staatstheater Nuremberg.

He has conducted Jenufa and La cenerentola for ETO, and other companies with whom he has worked include Singapore Lyric Opera, Stadttheater Fürth, Opera Holland Park, Opera North, Pegasus Opera and WNO.

Peter Selwyn is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the Internationales Kammermusik Festival Nürnberg.

James Conway

James Conway

Director

General Director of ETO, James Conway has directed 24 new productions and 4 revivals for the company, including Donizetti’s The Siege of Calais (to be revived in 2015), Maria Stuarda and Anna Bolena and Handel’s Alcina, Ariodante, Teseo, Tolomeo, Flavio, Xerxes and Agrippina. Other notable ETO productions include Eugene Onegin, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Simon Boccanegra, The Emperor of Atlantis and the world première of Alexander Goehr’s Promised End. For RCM he directed L’incoronazione di Poppea and Le nozze di Figaro, and for the Canadian Opera Company Don Giovanni. His production of The Cunning Little Vixen is in repertory at the Moravian National Theatre in Janacek’s home city of Brno. He has written original libretti for 2 operas and translations for 5 others, as well as several works of fiction; his most recent translation was last season’s Agrippina. Upcoming productions include Giulio Cesare (Lucca) and Ottone (ETO).

Neil Irish

Neil Irish

Designer

Born
Birmingham

Training
Birmingham University
Slade UCL
National Film & Television school

Opera
Productions for Opera Holland Park, Almedia/ENO Opera Festival, Mid Wales Opera, Opera Theatre Company Dublin, Garden Opera, ETO, Pegasus Opera and Opera North

Future
A new Opera to coincide with the Beijing Olympics at Hackney Empire, a UK tour of the play The Dresser, a new play for the Drill Hall and a production of The Shape of Things in Istanbul.

Other
Neil has also worked for both set and costume departments for BBC TV.

Guy Hoare

Guy Hoare

Lighting Designer

Opera includes: The Lighthouse; Albert Herring; Gianni Schicchi; Il Tabarro; Promised End; Katya Kabanova; Don Giovanni; Eugene Onegin (ETO); Jakob Lenz (ENO); American Lulu; The Firework-Maker’s Daughter (The Opera Group).

Theatre includes: Strange Interlude (National); Roots; Serenading Louie; Be Near Me (Donmar); A Doll’s House (Young Vic); NSFW; In Basildon (Royal Court); A Delicate Balance; Waste (Almeida); Peter Pan (NTS); The Little Mermaid, Faith Healer (BOV); Rutherford & Son; Othello (Northern Broadsides).

Dance includes: The Metamorphosis (Royal Ballet); The Land of Yes, The Land of No (Sydney Dance Company); Frontline (Aterbaletto); Dream (NDCWales); Pavlova’s Dogs (Scottish Dance Theatre); Dracula (Mark Bruce Company); Mischief (Theatre Rites).

Cast

Richard Mosley-Evans

Richard Mosley-Evans

Baritone

Emperor Overall

Richard Mosley-Evans was born in Cardiff and trained at the Welsh College of Music and Drama. Awards include Silver Medal from the Worshipful Company of Musicians, the Sybil Tutton Opera Scholarship and twice winner of the Sir Geraint Evans Scholarship. Operatic roles include cover Gepetto/ The Adventure of Pinocchio (ON); Bosun/ Billy Budd, Doctor, Servant and Herald/ Macbeth, cover Father/ Hänsel und Gretel, Steuermann/ Tristan und Isolde (all for GFO); The Mayor/ Jenůfa (GTO); Le Dancaire/ Carmen, cover Don Alfonso/ Cosi fan tutte (both GFO and GTO); Sacristan/ Tosca (Raymond Gubbay at RAH). Recordings include DVD releases of Billy Budd, Tristan und Isolde, Gianni Schicchi for GFO, various TV/Radio broadcasts from Glyndebourne and at the Proms (RAH).

Robert Winslade Anderson

Robert Winslade Anderson

Bass-baritone

Death

Callum Thorpe

Callum Thorpe

Bass-baritone

Loudspeaker

Paula Sides

Paula Sides

Soprano

Maiden

Ms Paula Sides will sing the role of Mimi on 11 April (Everyman Theatre, matinee performance), 25 April (Warwick Arts Centre), 28 April (Exeter Northcott Theatre), 16 May (Buxton Opera House) and 29 May (Cambridge Arts Theatre).

Paula received the Tagor Gold Medal from the RCM and the Karaviotis Prize at the Les Azuriales International Competition. At RCM, she was a finalist for the Young Concert Artists Trust and received the Coutts & Co. Award along with the Sir Thomas Allen Scholarship supported by a Clayton Award. Operatic roles include Norina/ Don Pasquale, Gilda/ Rigoletto (Preggio Opera Festival, Italy); Atalanta/ Atalanta (Handel Society); Bastienne/ Bastien und Bastienne (Skipton Camerata); Mimi/ La bohème, Inez/ Il trovatore (both Opus I Opera); Grasshopper/ The Cunning Little Vixen (RCM). Covers include Governess/ Turn of the Screw (Opera North). Concert engagements include Mozart Unwrapped (King’s Place with Roger Vignoles November 2011), City of Dreams (Philharmonia Orchestra concert series 2009); City Music Society series (Eric Falk Trust Award). Paula has also recorded a Peroni advert soundtrack. Previously for ETO, Paula has performed the roles of Pamina/ The Magic Flute, Clizia/ Teseo, Emilia/ Flavio, Susanna/ Figaro.
www.operauk.com/paula-sides

Jeffrey Stewart

Jeffrey Stewart

Tenor

Harlequin

Highlights of his work in the United Kingdom include Tamino/ Die Zauberflöte (Opera Northern Ireland); Rinuccio/ Gianni Schicchi, Nemorino/ L’Elisir D’Amore, Edgardo/ Lucia Di Lammermoor, Federico/ L’Arlesiana (all for OHP); Pinkerton Madama Butterfly (Raymond Gubbay Ltd, Royal Albert Hall), and appearances with ON and ENO. He made his debut at Covent Garden as Conte Ivrea in Verdi Un Giorno Di Regno. International credits include Ernesto/ Don Pasquale (Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Düsseldorf); title role/ Les Contes D’Hoffmann; Alfred/ Die Fledermaus; Alfredo/ La Traviata. A regular oratorio and recital performer, his appearances have included all the major London venues, as well as debuts in Dublin, Vienna, Budapest, Paris, Belgium, Italy and the USA including acclaimed performances of Schumann’s Dichterliebe. For ETO Jeffrey has previously sung Duca/ Rigoletto and Nadir/ Les Pecheurs De Perles.

Katie Bray

Katie Bray

Mezzo-soprano

Drummer

Rupert Charlesworth

Rupert Charlesworth

Tenor

Soldier

Rupert currently attends the opera school of the Royal Academy of Music, under the tuition of Philip Doghan and Iain Ledingham, where he is generously supported by the Karaviotis Scholarship and the John Kenneth Adams Scholarship. He was a 2011 Academy Laureate of the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. He is also grateful to be supported by Josephine Baker Trust, the Countess of Munster Trust and Mr and Mrs Sommerville. So far in his career he has performed with such noted musicians as Laurence Cummings, Graham Johnson, Leonardo Garcia Alarcon and Sir Colin Davis.

Rupert’s career has taken him throughout Europe, performing in such prestigious operatic stages as La Fenice, Venice and The Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. Previous roles include Damon (Aics and Galatea – Aix-en-Provence), Tamino (Die Zäuberflöte – Royal Academy Opera) and Mr Rushworth in the ROA production of Mansfield Park (Dove) and Angel 3/John (Written on Skin – Aix-en-Provence).

Rupert is also in demand as oratorio soloist, regularly performing works including the Requiem Mass and Mass in C minor (Mozart), St Matthew and St John Passions (J.S. Bach), The Messiah (Handel), Vespro della Beata Vergine (Monteverdi) and Dies Natalis (Finzi). He is also a soloist for the Royal Academy, Kohn Foundation Bach Cantata series. His recordings include The Sealed Angel (Delphian), and Rogier: Missa Ego Sum Qui Sum (Hyperion), whilst his broadcasts include the In Tune Schubert Salon with Graham Johnson for BBC Radio 3.

Future engagements in 2012 include playing Count Errico in the RAO production Haydn’s La Vera Costanza in November, and a Handel Messiah with Laurence Cummings in December. In 2013 he will again cover Angel 3/John in George Benjamin’s Written on Skin at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and sing this role at the 2013 Maggio Musicale, Fiorentino.

Showing At

  1. Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, London
    5th Oct 2012 - 8:00 pm
  2. Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, London
    12th Oct 2012 - 8:00 pm
  3. West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge
    18th Oct 2012 - 8:15 pm
  4. Alyth Gardens, London, NW11
    20th Oct 2012 - 7:15 pm
  5. Exeter Northcott Theatre
    26th Oct 2012 - 8:15 pm
  6. Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells
    29th Oct 2012 - 8:15 pm
  7. Harrogate Theatre
    3rd Nov 2012 - 8:15 pm
  8. Snape Maltings Concert Hall
    11th Nov 2012 - 4:00 pm
  9. Great Malvern Priory
    14th Nov 2012 - 8:15 pm
  10. Buxton Opera House
    17th Nov 2012 - 8:15 pm

Your Comments

  1. I am thrilled you are doing the Emperor of Atlantis. 30 years ago I tried to persuade Opera North to do it. I shall be at Buxton to see it. Congratulations to all involved. I wanted to do it with giant puppets (perhaps you saw the recent ENO production of Satyagraha that used such figures).

    Said John Casson at 15:38pm on 29th May 2012

  2. I was with 3 friends and had all come down from London. I'd just like to say we all found the Emperor of Atlantis very moving and thought provoking and quite unique. As a composer myself I was very intrigued by Viktor Ullmann's music which although of its time, with the cabaret influences etc. had a feel all of its own. We thought the performances by all the cast and the orchestra were very vivid and powerful and had real commitment. I look forward to seeing more ETO productions!

    Said Hugh at 13:07pm on 30th Oct 2012

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