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Set in Ancient Egypt, and with a text almost entirely drawn from sources from that period, Akhnaten draws on both truth and fiction. It depicts a pharaoh who created the world’s first recorded monotheism faith, long before the likes of Christianity and Islam. In a series of sparsely symbolic but lushly staged scenes, Glass chronicles his rise and fictional fall, from the building of a new city to a brutal overthrow. Compared to his earlier operatic works, this is a conventional narrative, matched by some of Glass’ most classically beautiful music. Scored for what is largely a standard orchestra, it eschews the violin to create a duskier atmosphere of mournful ruin.
The English National Opera’s new production, the first in London for three decades, is directed by Improbable Theatre’s Phelim McDermott. A familiar figure at the Coliseum, he has helmed two previous Glass operas in recent memory, including Satyagrapha in 2007, revived twice since. The appointment of Glass collaborator Karen Kamensek as conductor continues the company’s policy of matching the artist to the work. Rising star Anthony Roth Costanzo will take the title role, with the other players yet to be announced. Akhnaten is certainly not one of the more radical twentieth-century operas, but it is a must-see for followers of minimalism, and could prove the perfect introduction to the period for those unfamiliar with the pre-war repertoire.
|What||Akhnaten, London Coliseum|
|Where||London Coliseum, WC2N 4ES | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Charing Cross (underground)|
04 Mar 16 – 16 Mar 16, 7:30 PM – 10:20 PM
|Website||Click Here to book via the English National Opera|