Viktor Ullmann: THE EMPEROR OF ATLANTIS

Music

The Opera Krakowska on the ARMEL Opera Competition and Festival 2011.

Monday 10 October 2011, 7:00 pm

Szeged National Theatre

Szeged, Vaszy Viktor tér 1.

Performed by:

Opera Krakowska
Krakow, Poland

 

Viktor Ullmann: THE EMPEROR OF ATLANTIS

Opera in one act. 

Libretto by Peter KIEN.
With: the Opera Krakowska Orchestra
Conductor: Tomasz TOKARCZYK
Director:Beata REDO-DOBBER

Performed in German with Hungarian and English supertitles.

 

Viktor ULLMANN

The Czech composer and conductor was born in Tesin in 1898. He graduated from a junior high school in Vienna, taking theory of music lessons at the same time. He fought in World War I as a volunteer. After he had returned to Vienna, he studied law and composition with Arnold Schönberg. In May 1919 - after marrying Martha Koref, a Jewess from Prague - he moved to Prague where he became a conductor at the New German Theatre. His first compositions were written at that time, e.g. Die Schönberg Variationen, which were noticed by critics after premiering at the Music Festival in Geneva in 1929. Between 1929 and 1931, Ullmann worked as a composer and conductor in Zurich and ran an anthroposophic bookshop in Stuttgart for another two years. He returned to Prague in 1933 and worked as a music teacher and journalist, continuing to compose. After the Nazi occupation of Bohemia and Moravia, Ullmann was subjected to the restrictions placed upon people of Jewish origin. He and his family were deported to the Theresienstadt Camp-Ghetto in 1942. Even there, he never stopped working and writing scores which were later saved by his friends. The Emperor of Atlantis opera is one of these pieces. On October 16th 1944 Viktor Ullmann was deported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp where he was killed in a gas chamber.

 

 SYNOPSIS

Opera Krakowska’s production of Ullman’s The Emperor of Atlantis perfectly renders its tragicomic character. This allegorical farce, which draws on real-life experiences of the wartime exile and concentration camp inmate, is presented in the convention of folk theatre. The characters, devoid of historical attributes, resemble walking puppets, which act in grotesque and exaggerated ways. The only object on the stage is a roundabout-like structure with hangers; coats placed on the hangers produce associations with hanged men, contributing to the atmosphere of ghostly carnival.

 

 Tomasz TOKARCZYK The Polish conductor graduated from the School of Music in Krakow. He is the winner of the First Prize of the III Witold Lutosławski Polish Young Conductor Competition in Białystok (2002). He received the Medal of the Association of the Polish Musicians and the Award of the ZAIKS Authors' Association for the best Polish competitor at the VII Grzegorz Fitelberg International Conductors' Competition in Katowice (2003). Mr. Tokarczyk has cooperated with many of the Polish philharmonic orchestras including, the Wielki Theatre Orchestra in Poznań and the Warsaw Radio Orchestra. In the 1999/2000 season, he was the conductor of the Tarnów Chamber Orchestra. Between 2002 and 2004, he was the Music Director and Conductor of the Szczecin Opera. In 2004, he assumed the position of the Orchestra Director and Conductor of the Krakow Opera. Since April 2008, Mr. Tokarczyk has been the Music Director of the Krakow Opera. Mr. Tokarczyk made a number of TV recordings of New Year Concerts organized by the Polish Television in the Wieliczka Salt Mine and has recorded film and theatre music albums.

 Beata REDO-DOBBER graduated from the Acting Faculty of the Kraków School of Theatre. From 1985 to 1995 she was an actress in the Stary Theatre in Kraków and also worked abroad. She acted in more than 300 performances in Germany. She also co-operated with the Nuernberg Opera under the direction of Kristian Thielemann, and passed through the professional stages from a trainee to her debut as a director in Gian-Carlo Menotti's The Telephone and The Old Maid and a Thief. Beata Olga Redo-Dobber has been associated with the National Opera since 1995. She has cooperated with a number of outstanding opera directors such as Lech Majewski, Andrzej Żuławski, Gilbert Deflo, Achim Freyer, Krzysztof Warlikowski, David Pountney and Mariusz Treliński, as well as Harry Kupfer with whom she prepared Krzysztof Penderecki's Diabły z Loudun in the Semperoper in Dresden. She wrote scripts for and directed gala concerts at the Wielki Theatre and the Sala Kongresowa in Warsaw.