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BLO Revives An Almost-Lost Opera06:51
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Kevin Burdette as Death/Loudspeaker delivers his lines during a staging rehearsal for The Emperor of Atlantis at the Boston Center for the Arts. (Erik Jacobs/Courtesy BLO)
Kevin Burdette as Death/Loudspeaker delivers his lines during a staging rehearsal for The Emperor of Atlantis at the Boston Center for the Arts. (Erik Jacobs/Courtesy BLO)

The "Emperor of Atlantis" is a one act opera composed by Victor Ullman, a German-Czech composer who died in Auschwitz in 1944. As such, his is a sad story — there's no escaping it. But "The Emperor of Atlantis" is not so - in fact, it even has it's comedic moments. Which is made all the more extraordinary considering Ullman composed it while a prisoner in the concentration camp of Terezin, not long before he was shipped off to Auschwitz.

The opera's very existence today is an extraordinary story in and of itself. After its composition, it was almost lost to history, and was it was only discovered in a London attic in the 1970s.

Tuesday night, the Boston Lyric Opera is presenting Victor Ullman's "Emperor of Atlantis, or, Death Quits." The BLO is the first major American opera company in New England to present the work, which is seldom produced anywhere in the U.S.

Guests:

  • Esther Nelson, general and artistic director, Boston Lyric Opera
  • Richard Beaudoin, composer, "The After Image"

This segment aired on February 1, 2011.

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