MAKING FUN OF THE FUHRER
James Conlon conducts a three-concert series in “Recovering a Musical Heritage: Viktor Ullmann,” part of a yearlong program dedicated to raising public awareness about the work of composers killed during or radically affected by the Holocaust.
Ullmann (1898-1944), born in Teschen — now near the border between the Czech Republic and Poland — moved to Austria, where he studied with Arnold Schoenberg, and then to Prague. There he studied under Alexander Zemlinsky, emerging as an active conductor, pianist and critic — as well as director of the Studio for New Music — before being transported to Terezin (Theresienstadt), along with composers Hans Krása and Pavel Haas, and then Auschwitz, where he perished.
The musical series kicks off March 23 at Central Synagogue with “The Emperor of Atlantis” (“Der Kaiser von Atlantis”), an opera Ullmann wrote as a parody of life under the Führer, which is performed by the Juilliard Orchestra with Juilliard singers. On March 24, the Center for Religious Inquiry presents a program of vocal and chamber music by Ullmann, Krása and Zemlinsky at Saint Bartholomew’s Church, featuring mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer, soprano Amy Burton, the Hawthorne String Quartet and Juilliard students. On March 26, the series concludes at Carnegie Hall with an evening of orchestral works by Ullmann, Haas, Bartók and Zemlinsky.
“The Emperor of Atlantis” March 23, 7:30 p.m.; Central Synagogue, 625 Lexington Ave. (at 55th St.); $27 (212-415-5500); chamber and vocal music, March 24, 7:30 p.m.; St. Bart’s, 109 E. 50th St.; $20, $15 students and seniors (212-378-0222); orchestral works, March 26, pre-concert lecture 7 p.m., concert 8 p.m.; Carnegie Hall, 154 W. 57th St.; $24-$74. (212-247-7800 or www.carnegiehall.org)
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