THE EMPEROR OF ATLANTIS
aka DEATH GOES ON STRIKE
An Opera in One Act by Viktor Ullmann (1943) with a libretto by Petr Kien
New English Version by Max Hoehn (2018) commissioned by Loud Crowd for performances at Bold Tendencies in London.
'My name is Death.
The gardener, Death, who sows the seeds of sleep in pain-filled wrinkles.
My name is Death, the gardener Death, who weeds out withered plants, those careworn creatures.
My name is Death, the gardener Death, who reaps the ripened corn of suffering from your meadows.
I'm He that frees you from disease. I'm not disease.
I'm He that brings relief from pain. I'm not the pain you feel.
...I am the greatest freedom you know.
I am your final lullaby.
Hushed, calm and still is my humble home.
Come rest in peace.'
'Come, Death. You are a welcome guest.
Our hearts await your coming.
Relieve our pain and grant us rest.
Lead us away from all our suffering.
Teach us joy and teach us grief.
Teach us to love our brothers.
Teach us to keep your holiest law:
You shall respect the name of Death in sickness and in health.'