Bienen Ensembles

Viktor Ullmann's The Emperor of Atlantis

Thursday, November 16, 2023 at 7:30pm

Ryan Opera Theater

This performance features a 6:30 p.m. preperformance talk in the Jean Gimbel Lane Reception Room by Jesse Rosenberg, Inna Naroditskaya, Alan Pierson, and Joachim Schamberger.

Joachim Schamberger, director; Alan Pierson, conductor; Contemporary Music Ensemble 

When the cruel Emperor orders a senseless total war, Death decides to put an end to the chaos by going on strike. The people long for a release from the struggles of life, but only by willingly going to his own death can the Emperor convince Death to resume his role. Composed in the concentration camp at Terezin between 1943 and 1944, and finally premiered by the Netherlands Opera in 1975, Viktor Ullmann’s The Emperor of Atlantis is both a satire on militarism and an unsettling contemplation of what life might be like if humankind were given immortality. In this new staging with additional musical selections, the story introduces further questions about the nature of information and propaganda in the age of artificial intelligence. 

Run time approximately 70 minutes. Performed in English. 

Content warning: This production uses stage fog and contains material that may be upsetting to some viewers, including depictions of physical violence, war, weapons, concentration camps, National Socialist (Nazi)-related imagery and symbols, sexual content, and psychological trauma. 

View Program Book

Tickets are $18 for the general public and $8 for students with valid ID.

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Shirley Welsh Ryan Opera Theater


Bienen School of Music
70 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

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Located in the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts, this theater is a versatile space for intimate opera performances and recitals. Featuring double-height ceilings and expansive windows showcasing views of Lake Michigan, the room seats 163.