Philip Glass: Akhnaten
The Masterpiece, Akhnaten, by American contemporary composer Philip Glass will finally have its Finnish premiere at The Aleksander Theatre in Helsinki as a co-production of the Opera Skaala and the Opera BOX. Riikka Hakola will be singing the role of Queen Tye.
The opera is divided into three acts:
Act I At the funeral of Amenhotep III, the pharaoh’s heart is weighed against a feather to see if he will travel into the afterlife. Amenhotep’s son steps forward, and the coronation ceremony begins. The new pharaoh rises up the stairs to make his first pronouncement. At the Window of Appearances, he reveals his intentions to form a monotheistic religion. He changes his name to Akhnaten, meaning “Spirit of Aten.”
Act II Akhnaten leads a revolt to banish the old religion and replace it with his own. He banishes the priests of Amon and forms the new order of Aten. Akhnaten and Nefertiti affirm their love for each other. The new city of Akhetaten—“the City of the Horizon of Aten”—is built in praise of the new religion. Akhnaten sings a private prayer to his god.
Act III Akhnaten and Nefertiti dwell in an insular world of their own creation with their six daughters. Crowds gather outside the gates, and the priests of Amon break through the palace doors. Akhnaten is killed. Akhnaten’s son Tutankhamun is crowned as the new pharaoh, and the old polytheistic religion is restored.
EPILOGUE The ghosts of Akhnaten, Nefertiti, and Queen Tye are heard from the ancient world once again.