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Akhnaten tickets

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Akhnaten

Venue: London Coliseum

 
St. Martin's Lane,
London WC2N 4ES,
United Kingdom
 
 
All dates
Season 2019
 

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Next performance (see season calendar above for other dates)
Akhnaten
Mon 11 February 2019
Stalls 1
Hour Hall Price Tickets Buy
19:30 London Coliseum
ON REQUEST
 
Stalls 2
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19:30 London Coliseum 127 € Add to cart
 
Stalls 3
Hour Hall Price Tickets Buy
19:30 London Coliseum
ON REQUEST
 
Stalls 4
Hour Hall Price Tickets Buy
19:30 London Coliseum 110 € Add to cart
 
 
Akhnaten
Fri 15 February 2019
Stalls 1
Hour Hall Price Tickets Buy
19:30 London Coliseum 139 € Add to cart
 
Stalls 2
Hour Hall Price Tickets Buy
19:30 London Coliseum 127 € Add to cart
 
Stalls 3
Hour Hall Price Tickets Buy
19:30 London Coliseum 122 € Add to cart
 
Stalls 4
Hour Hall Price Tickets Buy
19:30 London Coliseum 110 € Add to cart
 
 
Akhnaten
Thu 21 February 2019
Stalls 1
Hour Hall Price Tickets Buy
19:30 London Coliseum 139 € Add to cart
 
Stalls 2
Hour Hall Price Tickets Buy
19:30 London Coliseum 127 € Add to cart
 
Stalls 3
Hour Hall Price Tickets Buy
19:30 London Coliseum 122 € Add to cart
 
Stalls 4
Hour Hall Price Tickets Buy
19:30 London Coliseum 110 € Add to cart
 
 
 
Event details
 

Synopsis

The opera is divided into three acts:
Act 1: Year 1 of Akhnaten's Reign in Thebes

Prelude, Verse 1, Verse 2, Verse 3

Set in the key of A minor, the strings introduce a ground bass theme, with following variations. (A passacaglia). The scribe recites funeral texts from the pyramids. 'Open are the double doors of the horizon; unlocked are its bolts.'

Scene 1: Funeral of Akhnaten's father Amenhotep III

Heralded by hammering drums, Aye and a small male chorus chant a funeral hymn in Egyptian, later joined by the full chorus. The music is basically a march, based on the chords of A major and F♯ minor (with added major sixth),[2] and grows to ecstatic intensity towards the end.

Scene 2: The Coronation of Akhnaten

After a lengthy orchestral introduction, during which Akhnaten appears, heralded by a solo trumpet, the High Priest, Aye, and Horemhab sing a ritual text. After that, the Narrator recites a list of royal titles bestowed upon Akhnaten, while he is crowned. After the coronation, the chorus repeats the ritual text from the beginning of the scene. Again, the main key is A minor.

Scene 3: The Window of Appearances

After an introduction in A minor, dominated by tubular bells, Akhnaten sings a praise to the Creator (in Egyptian) at the window of public appearances. This is the first time he actually sings, after he has already been on stage for 20 minutes (and 40 minutes into the opera) and the effect of his countertenor voice (which in 1983 was even more rare than nowadays) is startling. He is joined by Nefertiti, who actually sings lower notes than he, and later by Queen Tye, whose soprano soars high above the intertwining voices of the royal couple.
Act 2: Years 5 to 15 in Thebes and Akhetaten

Scene 1: The Temple

The scene opens again in A minor, with the High Priest and a group of priests singing a hymn to Amun, principal god of the old order, in his temple. The music becomes increasingly dramatic, as Akhnaten, together with Queen Tye and his followers, attack the temple. This scene has only wordless singing. The harmonies grow very chromatic, finally reaching A flat major and E minor. The temple roof is removed and the sun god Aten's rays invade the temple, thus ending Amun's reign and laying the foundation for the worship of the only god Aten.

Scene 2: Akhnaten and Nefertiti

Two solo celli introduce a "love theme". Accompanied by a solo trombone while the harmony switches to H(sus), the Narrator recites a prayer-like poem to the sun god. The strings softly take over the music in E minor, and the same poem is recited again, this time actually as a love poem from Akhnaten to Nefertiti. Then Akhnaten and Nefertiti sing the same text to each other (in Egyptian), as an intimate love duet. After a while, the trumpet associated with Akhnaten joins them as the highest voice, turning the duet into a trio.

Scene 3: The City - Dance

The Narrator speaks a text taken from the boundary stones of the new capital of the empire, Akhet-Aten (The Horizon of Aten), describing the construction of the city, with large, light-filled spaces. After a brass fanfare, the completion of the city is celebrated in a light-hearted dance, contrasting with the stark, ritualistic music with which this act began. (In the Stuttgart premiere, the dance actually described the construction of the city)

Scene 4: Hymn

What now follows is a hymn to the only god Aten, a long aria (alternating between A minor and A major) by Akhnaten, and the central piece of the opera. It is outstanding as it is the only text sung in the language of the audience, praising the sun giving life to everything. After the aria, an off-stage chorus sings Psalm 104 in Hebrew, dating some 400 years later, which has strong resemblances to Akhnaten's Hymn, thus emphasizing Akhnaten as the first founder of a monotheistic religion.
Act 3: Year 17 and the Present

Scene 1: The Family

Two Oboe d'amore play the "love theme" from Act II. We see Akhnaten, with Nefertiti and their six daughters, singing wordlessly in contemplation. It is obvious that they are oblivious of what happens outside of the palace. As the music switches from E minor to F minor, the Narrator reads letters from Syrian vassals, asking for help against their enemies. Since the king does not send troops, his land is being seized and plundered by their enemies. The scene focuses again on Akhnaten and his family, still oblivious of the country falling apart.

Scene 2: The Attack and Fall of the City

The music moves again to a vigorous F minor. Horemhab, Aye and the High Priest of Aten instigate the people (as the chorus), singing part of the aforementioned letters (in their original Akkadian language) until finally the palace is attacked, the royal family killed, and the city of the sun destroyed.

Scene 3: The Ruins

The music of the very beginning of the opera returns. The scribe recites an inscription on Aye's tomb, praising the death of "the heretic" and the new reign of the old gods. He then describes the restoration of Amun's temple by Akhnaten's son Tutenkhamun. The Prelude music grows stronger and the scene is moved to present-day Egypt, to the ruins of Amarna, the former capital Akhet-Aton. The Narrator appears as a modern tourist guide and speaks a text from a guide book, describing the ruins. "There is nothing left of this glorious city of temples and palaces".

Scene 4: Epilogue

The ghosts of Akhnaten, Nefertiti and Queen Tye appear, singing wordlessly amongst the ruins. The funeral procession from the beginning of the opera appears on the horizon, and they join it. The music introduces a bass line from the beginning of Einstein on the Beach, which is the first part of Glass' "portrait" trilogy (The second one being Satyagraha and the third one Akhnaten), thus providing a musical bracket for the whole trilogy.

 
Program details
 

Akhnaten cast and creative team includes:

 

Karen Kamensek, Conductor
Phelim McDermott, Director
Tom Pye, Set Designer
Kevin Pollard, Costume Designer 
Bruno Poet, Lighting Designer
Sean Gandini, Skills Ensemble Choreographer


Anthony Roth Costanzo, Akhnaten
Katie Stevenson, Nefertiti  
Rebecca Bottone, Queen Tye  
James Cleverton, Horemhab 
Keel Watson, Aye  
Colin Judson, High Priest of Amon  
Zachary James, The Scribe 
Charlotte Beament, Daughter of Akhnaten
Hazel McBain, Daughter of Akhnaten
Rosie Lomas, Daughter of Akhnaten
Martha Jones, Daughter of Akhnaten
Angharad Lyddon, Daughter of Akhnaten

 
Venue
 
London Coliseum
 

The home of ENO is the London Coliseum in the heart of London’s West End. Conveniently positioned in Theatreland, the theatre is near both Trafalgar Square and Leicester Square and benefits from the proximity of a number of tube stations and Charing Cross national rail station.
 

With the widest stage in London, it is a perfect venue for dance and performing arts companies. The glorious Edwardian architecture and interiors were magnificently restored in 2004, providing a beautiful auditorium and wonderful entertaining spaces throughout the building.  
 

 

HISTORY OF THE COLISEUM

 

The London Coliseum was designed by Frank Matcham for Sir Oswald Stoll with the ambition of being the largest and finest ‘People’s palace of entertainment’ of the age. 
 

Matcham wanted a Theatre of Variety – not a music hall but equally not highbrow entertainment. The resulting programme was a mix of music hall and variety theatre, with one act - a full scale revolving chariot race - requiring the stage to revolve. The theatre’s original slogan was PRO BONO PUBLICO (For the public good). It was opened in 1904 and the inaugural performance was a variety bill on 24 December that year.
 

With 2,359 seats it is the largest theatre in London. It underwent extensive renovations between 2000 and 2004 when an original staircase planned by Frank Matcham was finally put in to his specifications.The theatre changed its name from the London Coliseum to the Coliseum Theatre between 1931 and 1968. During the Second World War, the Coliseum served as a canteen for Air Raid Patrol workers, and Winston Churchill gave a speech from the stage. After 1945 it was mainly used for American musicals before becoming in 1961 a cinema for seven years.  In 1968 it reopened as The London Coliseum, home of Sadler’s Wells Opera. In 1974 Sadler’s Wells became English National Opera and the Company bought the freehold of the building for £12.8 million in 1992. The theatre underwent a complete and detailed restoration from 2000 which was supported by National Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage, The National Lottery through Arts Council England, Vernon & Hazel Ellis and a number of generous trust and individual donors to whom we are extremely grateful.The auditorium and other public areas were returned to their original Edwardian decoration and new public spaces were created. The theatre re-opened in 2004.
 

The London Coliseum has the widest proscenium arch in London (55 feet wide and 34 feet high – the stage is 80 feet wide, with a throw of over 115 feet from the stage to the back of the balcony) and was one of the first theatres to have electric lighting. It was built with a revolving stage although this was rarely used which consisted of three concentric rings and was 75 feet cross in total and cost Stoll £70,000. A range of modern features included electric lifts for patrons, a roof garden and an Information Bureau in which physicians or others expecting urgent telephone calls or telegrams could leave their seat numbers and be immediately informed if required.

 

FINDING LONDON COLISEUM

 

Nearest Underground

Charing Cross - 0.2 miles 
Northern Line 
Leicester Square - 0.2 miles 
Northern & Piccadilly Lines 
Covent Garden - 0.3 miles 
Northern & Piccadilly Lines 
Embankment - 0.3 miles 
Bakerloo, Circle, District & Northern Lines
 

Nearest Overground

Charing Cross - 0.2 miles 
Waterloo - 0.8 miles
 

Nearest Buses

3, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 23, 24, 29, 53, 77a, 88, 91, 139, 159, 176

 
 
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