Der Kaiser von Atlantis (The Emperor of Atlantis) is a single act opera by Viktor Ullmann to a libretto by Peter Kien, written at Terezín in 1943, before both composer and librettist perished at Auschwitz. The Terezín authorities refused permission for the work to be performed there. The first performance took place on 16 December 1975 in Amsterdam.
This 'legend in four scenes' is a parable describing the crazy, murderous ruler of much of the world, Kaiser Overall, who dreams of a future paradise stripped of mankind and wages global war, stating that Death personified will lead the operation. Death refuses, and mankind becomes immortal, resulting in total confusion, with no end for those who suffer or who are sick. A deal is finally struck - Death will return to mankind, but only if Kaiser Overall becomes the first to die.
CD Spotlight. A Monumental Work - Geoff Pearce is impressed by Viktor Ullmann's opera 'Der Kaiser von Atlantis'. 'The performance ... cannot be faulted ...'
Ensemble. Taking Risks - English Touring Opera's Autumn productions, reviewed by Roderic Dunnett
Ensemble. Distant Sound - LA Opera's 'Recovered Voices', reviewed by Maria Nockin
Ensemble. Holocaust opera - A powerful, deeply moving performance of Viktor Ullmann's 'The Emperor of Atlantis', reviewed by Lawrence Budmen