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Berlin Opera Revives Viktor Ullmann's ?The Emperor From Atlantis?

Posted: May. 29th, 2013  |  By Michael Pearse
Photo by Petrasek/EPA/Cobis

It's very poetic, even if otherwise terribly saddening, that it is so often only from within the depths of horror and darkness arise works like the latest to set to be performed by a Berlin orchestra, Viktor Ullmann's “The Emperor from Atlantis.” Preserved despite the composer's tragic death at the hands of the Nazi party, the opera will finally be made known.

It is a small operatic gem that was written under torturous circumstances and almost failed to see the light of day when its composer was dragged off to the gas chambers before being able to hear it performed. But it lives on thanks to a professor of philosophy who survived Theresienstadt concentration camp, where it was written, and who preserved the manuscript.

Now a Berlin orchestra and an American conductor are to revive The Emperor from Atlantis by Czech-German composer Viktor Ullmann on a more than unusual stage – the former headquarters of the SS and Gestapo in the German capital, known as the Topography of Terror.


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