The one-act opera “The Emperor of Atlantis” by Viktor Ullmann, with a libretto by Petr Kien, was created between 1943 and 1944 while the authors were detained in the Terezín camp. With a production that straddles the line between satire and fairy tale, the two Jewish artists reworked the Nazis’ favorite story, that of Atlantis, and focused on its downfall. Thus, on Thursday, January 25, and Saturday, January 27, at Teatro Filarmonico, Fondazione Arena is presenting a double date with the new play produced by Barbara Pessina in remembrance of Memorial Day and the Holocaust.
To bring the entire community together, Fondazione Arena hosts the opera two separate times. On Thursday, January 25, the appointment is at 10:30 a.m. for “Arena Young,” while on January 27, the opera will be presented for “Sogniamo ad occhi aperti: a Teatro in Famiglia” at 15:30 The Emperor of Atlantis is, in fact, designed with different degrees of reading to encourage comprehension by even the youngest students.
The Plot of “The Emperor of Atlantis”
As prisoners in the Terezín camp, Ullman and Kien created an actual act of resistance. The piece describes a meaningless battle that is fought by everyone against everyone, chaotic and disjointed, and led by Overall, the emperor of the ideal Atlantis. Death resists such cruelty and ceases to make people die, reversing the natural cycle of life. Death will not change his mind; Atlantis has to leave before everything can return to normal.
The two prisoners composed a fairly simple composition, which they even refer to as “a legend.” The Teatro Filarmonico’s stagings will also highlight this feature, owing to a smaller and more original orchestral ensemble based on the instruments available at the time of the opera.
Tickets for the event are available at the Arena Foundation Box Office and online at www.arenait. The full cost is 10 euros, while the reduced price ticket for children under 14 is 5 euros.