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The Emperor Of Atlantis is going to be ace! Saturday night has sold out, and the rest of the days are selling well too. (Those who asked me to book tickets for Saturday: I've got 'em, don't panic.)

Seating is going to be... interesting. The space is an art gallery, so we're free to transform it into a sort of ragtag homemade cabaret of the sort that they might have had at Theresienstadt. We're assembling a variety of chairs, cushions and rugs for the audience to sit on. (Cue the entire production team frantically chasing down cushions.)

When we come to the performances, front-of-house will have to herd the young and lithe towards the cushions so there'll be enough actual chairs for those who really need them. The opera's only about an hour long, so I hope that's an acceptable amount of time to have to sit on a cushion.

Seating will probably go like this:

People who prefer chairs - On the balcony (15)

People who require chairs and aren't keen on stairs - at the back of the room (14 or so)

People who don't mind sitting sideways - on a bench by the wall (up to 8)

People who prefer, or can be persuaded towards, cushions - at the front of the room (25 to 30)

I just really hope there are enough chairs for those who need them, and that no one who pays for a ticket will have cause to complain. We've invited a bunch of reviewers and industry professionals, and something tells me they won't be overly keen on the whole cushion experience.

Today I collected yet another scythe (with many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] fracture242), made a hangman's noose, and exit-flyered the Young Vic. Whew.
pallas_athena: (Default)
"Theresienstadt was and remains for me a school that teaches structure. Previously, where one was unable to experience that weight of cruelty due to 'comfort' (this magic of civilisation), one was allowed simply to disregard it; it was easy to create the beautiful form. Here, where artistic substance has to try and endure its daily structure, where every bit of divine inspiration stands counter to its surroundings, it is here that one finds the masterclass."

--Viktor Ullmann, Goethe and Ghetto, 1944
pallas_athena: (Default)
The Emperor of Atlantis is a witty, mordant satire of the Third Reich, an audacious gesture of resistance from the Theresienstadt concentration camp where the composer and librettist were imprisoned. The music is surprisingly, hauntingly beautiful, but the inhabitants of Theresienstadt never got to hear it. When a couple of SS officers came to the dress rehearsal, they didn't like what they saw. The performances were banned, and the composer, librettist, orchestra and their families were sent to their deaths in Auschwitz. The score only survives because Ullmann entrusted it to a friend who happened to live.

It's also the first production by the new opera company I've founded, Dioneo. We'll be staging it at the Cello Factory near Waterloo, London, on April 5, 6, 8 and 9 (but not 7.) We have a cast of wonderful singers and a 14-piece band, ably headed by director Max Hoehn and conductor John Murton. I hope you'll come and see it.

The venue is intimate and only seats 60, so advance booking is recommended (details here). Part of Dioneo's mission is to make opera available to everyone, so we've priced tickets at only £12. Come one, come all!

EDIT: For a sample of the music, here's the finale [YouTube; 2:25; not by us]. As you can hear, it's sort-of-kind-of based on the Bach chorale Ein feste Burg, known to most English speakers as A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. Enjoy.

Mezzo piano

Mar. 8th, 2011 11:54 am
pallas_athena: (Default)
Right now, I have an opera in my house.

One of the reasons I bought this house was so it could be a rehearsal and performance venue, and I plan on having a lot of music here. That being the case, I'm sure there will come a day when opening the door and hearing singing isn't a surprise. Right now, though, it makes me go "Hmm, keys, junk mail... HOLY SHIT THERE'S AN OPERA IN MY HOUSE." And up the stairs I go with a ridiculous smile plastered all over my face.

Also, for the first time in my life I get to have a piano! My trusty 1992-vintage Casio is all very well, but an actual not-made-of-plastic *piano* will be delivered on Thursday. Then I'll have to wait about a month to get her tuned, but so it goes.

It's Shrove Tuesday: Mardi Gras, or Carnevale! In celebration, here's a link to the Carnival story I wrote a couple of years ago. Pancakes, anyone?
pallas_athena: (Default)
Rehearsals for the Emperor of Atlantis have begun, using my new place as a rehearsal space. About half my stuff is there now too; I'm still packing up the last things to get myself moved out of the old place.

Shoutouts to Rocket Van, the nicest moving team you could ever hope to meet, and the Make-A-Wish Shop, who eerily have everything I need for my house.

Spent last weekend singing in not-entirely-rewarding circumstances (but I got dinner made for me by a French person, so I'm counting that as a win). Tonight's concert will, I hope, go better.

My sister has had a baby, so I'm an aunt for the first time, which is strange.

The sun's out! It is officially PARTY TIME.

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