OPERA: VIKTOR ULLMANN, THE EMPEROR OF ATLANTIS
15. 09. 2018
Bold Tendencies with Polly Graham, and her recently formed company, Loud Crowd, are bringing a new opera programme to Peckham, beginning in 2018 with Viktor Ullmann’s The Emperor of Atlantis and a special rehearsed reading of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ Young Blood!, ahead of a major production of this work here in 2019. We believe opera can appeal to many more people than it currently does, but this requires an active shift in mindset and a new, energetic and ambitious approach to making work. The Opera Programme at Bold Tendencies is supported by Selfridges and Arts Council England.
The Emperor of Atlantis is an opera about the need for humans to respect death. The megalomaniac Emperor has declared a war that will only end when there are no survivors left. Death, an old tramp, is outraged that a mortal should try to steal his job and goes on strike. The war begins but panic sets in as no one can die. The Living Dead walk the earth. The Emperor’s power weakens. He submits to the greater power of Death, and dies. Originally written in the concentration camp at Terezin in 1943 as a satire of the Nazi regime, this project proposes to re-read the piece as a prophecy for our time, presenting it within the context of current political debates about nuclear warfare, the migration crisis, climate change and the value of life in relation to power, always with a flavour of satire and clowning. The sound world of the opera is cartoonish and accessible, its collage style mixes jazz with chamber music and cabaret.
About Polly Graham, Artistic Director
Polly Graham trained at RADA, and with Teatr Pieśń Kosła and Le Théâtre du Soleil. As a freelance director she has worked at ENO, Glyndebourne Education, Buxton Festival, Grimeborn, RWCMD, Independent Opera, Teatro San Carlo, San Francisco Opera, Theater St Gallen, RADA, WNYO, WNO, Opera Sonic, Blackheath Halls Community Opera, the National Opera Studio, and the Fondazione Haydn in Italy. She was supported by the Genesis Foundation to work with David Pountney for two years at Welsh National Opera. Her work has been widely acknowledged: Kommilitonen! and Le Vin Herbé won Best Opera at the Welsh Theatre Awards in 2017 and 2018 respectively; Le Vin Herbé was nominated for the “Achievement in Opera” at the UK Theatre Awards, and she was a nominee in the “Best Newcomer” category at the 2017 International Opera Awards. In 2017 Polly founded Loud Crowd to deliver high-quality, innovative opera and music theatre work that reaches out to new audiences. Loud Crowd makes opera an art-form which expresses and responds to contemporary social, philosophical and political issues, contributing to public discourse and offering a cultural voice for our time.
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No intermission.Tickets >