THE DICTATOR by Ernst Krenek (1900-1991) (premiere in Spain)
THE EMPEROR OF THE ATLÁNTIDA of Viktor Ullmann (1898-1944)
The Maestranza Theater premieres in Spain The dictator of Krenek with his own production directed by Rafael Rodríguez Villalobos (Seville, 1987), who has studied music and dramatic art. In 2013 he was the youngest European Opera Management Award to date. Pedro Halffter Caro directs the ROSS and Martin Gantner, Nicola Beller Carbone, Natalia Labourdette and Vicente Ombuena in the cast.
For its part, The Emperor of Atlantis is a grotesque portrait of the figure of a tyrant under which the caricature of Hitler is hidden. In the play, the tyrant forces humanity to consent to a ferocious massacre, while Death prevents the wounded from dying, which the critic valued as “the abdication of death in the face of the universal horrors of life.”
The work was composed by Ullmann -disciple of Schönberg and assistant to Zemlinsky in Prague, in the Terezin concentration camp in 1943 before leaving for Auschwitz, where he died, as the librettist, Peter Kien. Both breathed in the work of a creepy satirical and black current. Another prisoner, H.G. Adler, rescued the piece, which premiered in Amsterdam in 1975.
Now, and in a coproduction of the Teatro de la Maestranza, the Teatro Real de Madrid and the Palau de les Arts in Valencia, the conductor and composer Pedro Halffter Caro presented a new version for a large orchestra -initially a chamber piece- elaborated by him, who has also composed two pieces – based on works by Ullmann – for the triptych that makes up the prologue of the opera. For Halffter, “The Emperor …” is a “brilliant and beautiful” opera that represents the exercise of the freedom of art displayed “at the most extreme time and place”. For the stage director Gustavo Tambascio, who died in February 2018, The Emperor of Atlantis is a macabre satire, like a “gloomy cabaret” that denounces “the industrialization of death”. Along with the ROSS, they repeat in the cast Martin Gantner, Nicola Beller Carbone, Natalia Labourdette, and Vicente Ombuena.