The Emperor of Atlantis: an artistic and community triumph


Dear Friends:

We are pleased to report that the British Columbia premiere of “The Emperor of Atlantis”, which ran in five performances from 1 to 11 February, was an extraordinary success.

Presented in partnership between the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre and City Opera Vancouver, “Atlantis” drew stunning reviews, turn-away crowds, met its budgetary goals, and proved a triumph for its singers, orchestra, production team, and all of its supporters.

Opened with a deeply moving address by the Honourable Steven Point, Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia, attended by Mayor Gregor Robertson and several City councillors, and given a brilliant historical and musical prologue every night by Dr Jaap Hamburger (and in essay form printed by the Vancouver Sun on 10 February), this unique chamber opera will be remembered by all who witnessed it.

“Atlantis” was also attended by people who flew in from Victoria, Friday Harbour, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Toronto and Pennsylvania. We have received more than 60 letters from audience members since, recounting their own stories, their amazement, their experience with “Atlantis”. One of the most startling may be found at the homepage of City Opera Vancouver.

We would like to thank our dozens of personal backers, 2010 Legacies Now and the Province of British Columbia, the Martha Lou Henley Charitable Foundation, the Schwartz/Reisman Centre, the UBC Department of Drama and Film, Electric Company Theatre, Accent Inns, Tom Lee Music, and Vancity for their generous support of this extraordinary opera. We also thank our friends at the Vancouver Musicians’ Association, Canadian Actor’ Equity, and the Norman Rothstein Theatre for making this production possible.

We gave 46 talks across Metro prior to opening night, discussing the musical, historical and human significance of ‘Atlantis’. Written by Viktor Ullmann and Petr Kien at Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1944, the Nazis killed its creators. They could not kill their creation.

Now we know why.

Frieda Miller, Executive Director, Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre

Dr Nora Kelly, President, City Opera Vancouver /