Atlantis and alternate universes

Posted on Feb 3rd, 2011 by Jeanne Golan

Went to hear a performance of Boston Lyric Opera doing Ullmann’s Emperor of Atlantis with Steve Lipsitt conducting.   All I knew of the opera prior to it was the menuett that Ullmann originally wrote for piano as part of the Fifth Sonata but that he later turned into the Dance of Death.  Fabulous production, musically wonderful and provided yet another window into Ullmann and his capacity to juggle multiple styles but always be himself.   And that he was compelled to write a ‘Death take a holiday’ opera that so blatantly condemns Hitler – what integrity and fearlessness.


Getting to the opera was an ordeal that added to the gestalt.  Had driven up that morning from New York in a blinding snowstorm on iced-over roads.  With almost cosmic good luck, the snows let up for the little window of time that it took for me to meet Diane and continue on to the theatre.  With snowbanks over 6 feet high, the journey was like driving through a snow tunnel maze.  There were no other cars on the road or people on the sidewalks, so it felt like we alone existed in a sci-fi futuristic way.  Couldn’t have set us up better for the alternate universe of Ullmann’s Atlantis!

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