Death in the opera Der Kaiser von Atlantis

If all works need their context, the work of Viktor Ullmann, The Emperor of Atlantis or Death abdicates (The Emperor of Atlantis or the abdication of death), It has in the context of its main protagonist. A protagonist who is not, who does not sing or act, but in this production it is evident in numerous occasions.

Ullmann composed this work during their stay in the camp Terezin. A kind of advertising city where the Third Reich had held, preselection, Jews with "special qualities". Including several composers like Ullmann own.

Schömbery disciple and assistant Zemlinsky, It took as libretto for text composition of another prisoner, the poet Peter Kien. Together they created a satire in which an emperor declares war on all humanity and even death, one of the protagonists of the work, Confronts. Perhaps the obvious criticism of Hitler and Goebbels were the reasons why the work was never represented.

The original score, written for 13 instruments, It offers a more intimate chamber version that we have heard in the Royal Theatre. the orchestration, created by Pedro Halffter por encargo Joan Mataboch, It is excessive and somewhat superficial. A perhaps lush and cold metal music sounds, that breaks with the more personal and easy atmosphere with which the composer reflects the circumstances of its composition.

As a preface to Der Kaiser von Atlantis, He offered himself The song of love and death of Cornet Christoph Rilke, for narrator and orchestra with music of Ullmann own. The actress Blanca Portillo It is in charge of the narrative, and does so with such brilliance that achieves almost unnoticed through the awkward stage design work Gustavo Tambascio Y Ricardo Sánchez Cuerda. The powerful voice projection Blanca Portillo, critical and scarce quality among Spanish actors, It makes it unnecessary excess amplification.

This first prologue follows the Adagio in memoriam de Ana Frank and Little overture to "Der Kaiser von Atlantis". Both based on movements Sonata para piano núm.7 de Viktor Ullmann, with music by the composer and orchestrating Pedro Halffter. These works were accompanied by unnecessarily explanatory projections on the theme of the night.

The scenery of Gustavo Tambascio is somewhat unclear. The characters are sometimes out of a context that defines them and help set the scene. It was noted especially with the appearance on stage, some troubles, from Sonia de Munck as Bubikopf. The weight of his great headdress hindered his wanderings. Sometimes singers, not only have to sing well, They must also overcome the difficulties of stage directors. What sometimes affects the quality of the emission.

Alejandro Marco-Buhrmester, as Emperor Overall, He shone in the interpretive part. His voice is enough for the character but more than enough of gola.

Mayor drum was played this time by the soprano zaragozana Ruth Iniesta. His voice volume is clear and resolved freely be called at the last moment for this role.

Torben Jürgens scary with its extraordinary characterization of death, to helping its disturbing stage presence and his deep bass voice. His character went from evil to good when he denied his collaboration to the Emperor to start the slaughter.

The best and most applauded of the evening was Martin Winkler como Speaker. With an outstanding phrasing and interpretation radiant and full of intent and energy, He puts irony and poignancy that is hidden in this work.

The end, with the image of the bottom of the Jews entering the gas chamber to be exterminated, It reflects all alone sinker containing the work and this whole cycle dedicated, so aptly, this period of history in Europe.

Viktor Ullmann (1898 – 1944)
The Emperor of Atlantis or The Todt abdicates
One-act opera with libretto by Peter Kien
Released in the Theater Bellevue Amsterdam 16 December 1975, depending on the version of Kerry Woodward.
premiere of the extended review for large orchestra by Pedro Halffter (2015)
New coproduction of Teatro Real, Teatro de la Maestranza in Seville and Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia.

Prologue: The song of love and death of Cornet Christoph Rilke, for narrator and orchestra (1944). Música de Viktor Ullmann, texto de Rainer Maria Rilke, Spanish version of Jesus Munárriz, Henning reconstruction Brauel, story of Blanca Portillo.

Adagio in memoriam Ana Frank
Based on movement of the Piano Sonata No.. 7 de Viktor Ullmann (1944 / 2015), Viktor Ullmann music and Pedro Halffter, orchestrating Pedro Halffter

Small overture to "Der Kaiser von Atlantis"
Based on movement of the Piano Sonata No.. 7 de Viktor Ullmann (1944 / 2015), Viktor Ullmann music and Pedro Halffter, Orchestrating Pedro Halffter

Der Kaiser von Atlantis, ON. 49
Música de Viktor Ullmann
D. musical: Pedro Halffter
D. scene: Gustavo Tambascio
Scenographer: Ricardo Sánchez Cuerda
Costume designer: Jesus Ruiz
illuminator: Felipe Ramos
Distribution: Alejandro Marco-Buhrmester, Martin Winkler, Torben Jürgens, Roger Padullés, Albert Casals, Sonia de Munck, Ana Ibarra.
Head of the Royal Theatre Orchestra
Actors: Helena Dueñas, Javier Ibarz, Rodrigo Poisón, Lander Otaola, Elena González, ainara Arístegui, Resu Morales, David Tenreiro, Fernando Ustarroz.
ballerinas: Cristina Arias, Carmen Angulo

Text: Paloma Sanz
pictures: Javier del Real
Videos: Teatro Real