~By Lynne Gray, Ph.D.~
This rarely performed modern masterpiece is another spectacular must-see opera from the Met’s 2019-20 live in HD season. Staring one of the world’s greatest living countertenors, Anthony Roth Costanzo, in the title role and featuring J’Nai Bridges as his Queen, Nefertiti, and Dísella Lárusdóttir as his mother, Queen Tye, it will literally knock your socks off. This is the last opera in Glass’ historic “Portrait Trilogy” (the others were about Einstein and Gandhi) and is a mystical examination of events in the life of Pharaoh Amenhotep IV who took the first known steps towards monotheism two centuries before Moses, and then re-named himself Akhnaten after his one God – Aten – a higher manifestation of the Sun God Ra.
Glass’ music for Akhnaten has been described by the Chicago Tribune as “instantly recognizable, with its trademark churning ostinatos, undulating arpeggios and repeating rhythms that morph over various lengths of time atop broad fields of tonal harmony” – far from your usual description of opera music! The mesmerizing score is accompanied by a stunning production design from Phelim McDermott and also includes an incredibly talented troupe of dancing jugglers choreographed by Sean Gandini which keeps as many as 50 objects at a time in the air, echoing Glass’ kinetic music. The Met’s orchestra is led by the gifted and exciting young American conductor, Karen Kamensek, who won the 2017 Olivier Award for Best New Opera Production. This should be a feast for almost ALL your senses — enjoy!
Akhnaten will play live at the Century Riverside 12 and the Summit Sierra in Reno and the Galaxy Fandango in Carson City Saturday, November 23 at 9:55 AM with encore performances in Reno only December 4. Please check the local theater Website for encore times as they tend to vary from their schedule.