Wednesday, December 11, 2019
‘Akhnaten’ Features Hypnotic Music of Philip Glass
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Friday, November 22, 2019
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

Philip Glass meets ancient Egypt when the New York Metropolitan Opera presents “Akhnaten.”

And Sun Valley Opera and Metropolitan Theatres will present the live opera broadcast—part of the 2019-20 MET HD series—at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, at the Big Wood 4 Cinemas in Hailey.

Doors will open at 10:15 a.m. for coffee hosted by the Hailey Coffee Company.

The opera opens with the death of Amenhotep III, who is revealed as a corpse and as a ghostly figure, reciting words from the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

Following a ritual ceremony, Amenhotep’s son Akhnaten steps forward to take his father’s place. He spends 17 years on the throne, marrying Nefertiti and establishing a new single God religion and a new society that alters the age in which he lives

But, when he is killed, his young son—Tutankhamun--is crowned the new pharaoh and the old polytheistic religion is restored.

The opera features the contemporary ritualistic music of Philip Glass directed by Phelim McDermott. Glass composed the libretto, which includes Akhaten’s “Hymn to the Sun,” in association with Jerome Robbins, Shalom Goldman, Robert Israel and Richard Riddell. It premiered in 1984 at the Stuttgart State Theatre in Germany.

Glass composed it along with two other biographical operas—“Einstein on the Beach” and “Satyagraha,” about Mahatma Gandhi.

In Saturday’s version Anthony Roth Costanzo stars as the ruler who transformed ancient Egypt. Zachary James, who will co-star in “Vienna Meets New York” with Melody Wilson for Sun Valley Opera in January 2020, will portray Amenhotep III.

A company of acrobats and jugglers will round out the spectacle.

 

 

 

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