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Dear Friends:

I wanted to give you a heads-up, and to ask for your support.

City Opera recently joined with the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre toward co-production of a remarkable chamber opera. Opening on 1 February 2009, the work is The Emperor of Atlantis. Written by Viktor Ullmann and Petr Kien at Theresienstadt in 1944, it is one of the most extraordinary pieces of music drama I know.

It will star Andrew Greenwood as The Emperor, Will George as Harlekin, and Robyn Driedger-Klassen as Bubikopf. Other cast members will be announced shortly. It will be presented in the original German, with English titles.

Atlantis will be directed by Robert McQueen, with Charles Barber as conductor, Tom Durrie as producer, Janet Lea as associate producer, and Mark Fewer as concertmaster. This fully professional production will be staged over five nights at the Norman Rothstein Theatre.

Atlantis concerns a confrontation between Death and The Emperor. Death, fed up with the Emperor’s bloody ways, goes on strike. People are killed, but do not die. The Emperor summons Death and demands he go back to business, in order that his project for the world be put into place. Death agrees, but on one condition…

We believe you may find in Atlantis one of the most remarkable evenings in the theatre you have experienced for a long, long time. Together with our friends at the Holocaust Centre, we will also be taking a presentation on the opera and the concept of genocide to the schools, and to community and religious, cultural and ethnic groups across Vancouver well in advance of opening night.

We need your help. The budget for this chamber opera is $100,000. Although we are applying to public institutions, we cannot set a reasonable ticket price without your personal assistance.

If you believe in this project, in this theme, and in this possibility, can you help? A gift in any amount — $25 to $2500 – would aid more than you can imagine.

A strange fact, but true: in numerous North American surveys, the principal reason people give for not contributing to the arts is that “no one ever asked me”. Well, we’re asking.

Emperor of Atlantis will be a British Columbia premiere. If it’s also a premiere investment for you, here’s what we ask you to consider: write a cheque payable to ‘Community Arts Council of Vancouver’, and put ‘In Trust City Opera’ on the notation line.

Then, please mail it to us at City Opera Vancouver, PO Box 88393, Vancouver V6A 4A6. In reply we will send you a grateful thank-you, and a cheery federal income tax receipt for any amount over $25.00. It’s that simple.

One more thing: together with our partners at the Holocaust Centre, we will present as important and moving a night at the opera as you may ever have witnessed. Emperor of Atlantis is, quite simply, that good.

All best, and all thanks for your help,

Dr Charles Barber
Artistic Director, City Opera of Vancouver

604.812.3684 /

in partnership with the Community Arts Council of Vancouver