Music: A Gallows Opera

Confronted by a vision of hell, does one stand in silent reverence for suffering or praise the spirit that surmounted it? Last week a Dutch audience faced this dilemma at the première of an opera, The Emperor of Atlantis, which was written in a concentration camp by two Jews. At the end, after a few seconds' pause, the listeners burst into applause for a work that stands on its own as a music drama of great power.

The one-hour chamber opera was composed in 1944 inside Theresienstadt, a "model" camp. The piece was in rehearsal...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!