Connecticut Lyric Opera performs 'Der Kaiser Von Atlantis' at the Garde

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It was a horrific facade. During WWII, the Nazis said that their Theresienstadt concentration camp in German-occupied Czech lands was an artists’ camp. They pretended this showed their “benevolence” toward Jews, as they tried to conceal their true intentions.

In 1943, Viktor Ullman, one of the camp prisoners, wrote an opera that was a thinly veiled condemnation of Hitler (the story involves the character of Death and a war-obsessed leader desirous of widespread human destruction).

When SS officers saw what was to be the last rehearsal before a performance, they were aghast. They shut things down and sent Ullman, along with librettist Peter Kien, cast members, musicians and all their families to their deaths at Auschwitz. Only a few singers survived.

Connecticut Lyric Opera is opening its 17th season with that opera, “Der Kaiser Von Atlantis,” which translates as The Emperor of Atlantis. It will be sung in English translation at a performance Thursday at the Garde Arts Center.

The production features Robert Garner, Justin Ryan, Joel Edwards, Daniel Kamalic, Mary McCue, Steve Fredericks, and Rachel Abrams.

Alan Mann is the stage director, and Adrian Sylveen is artistic director and conductor.

After the performance, Voices of Hope, an organization of Holocaust survivors and their families, will talk about their experiences. There will also be an exhibition of reprints of art created during the Holocaust and other times of genocide.

“Der Kaiser Von Atlantis,” 7 p.m. Thursday, Garde Arts Center 325 State St., New London; $29-$45; (860) 444-7373, gardearts.org.

 

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