For the first time in its history, Teatro Real in Madrid staged a new production of Viktor Ullmann’s Emperor of Atlantis (1943). Dramaturgically the premiere was a part of the theatre’s special programme series of works composed mostly by Jewish authors in the 1930s and 1940s. Apart from the main attraction, Arnold Schönberg’s Moses and Aaron, the series also included Hans Krása’s children’s opera Brundibár which was premiered in April (for more info see here: https://blog.musica.cz/en/articles/detail/747/lyon-hans-krasa-brundibar?page=2 ).
The Emperor was created in coproduction with Teatro de la Maestranza (Seville) and Palau de les Arts Reína Sofia (Valencia). Its director Gustavo Tambascio sought to focus on images from the time and place of the opera’s composition; tfor instance, the opera ends with series of characters who must remove their clothes befor being gassed. The music was performed in a new version for full orchestra made by the production’s musical director Pedro Halffter. Alejandro Marco-Buhrmeister is starring as the Emperor, the other roles are sung by Martin Winkler (Loudspeaker), Torben Jürgens (Death), Roger Padullés (Pierrot), Albert Casals (A soldier), Sonia de Munck and Ruth Iniesta (A maiden) and Ana Ibarra (Drummer girl). Since the opera is only about an hour long, it was complemented by the performance of Ullmann’s melodrama The Lay of Love and Death of Cornet Christoph Rilke and two movements from his Sonata for Piano No. 7 in a premiere orchestration by Halffter. Excluding the premiere, there were four more performances that occured this month.
10 June 2016, Teatro Real, Madrid
further performances: June 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20 2016
Viktor Ullmann: The Emperor of Atlantis
Stage director: Gustavo Tambascio, musical director: Pedro Halffter