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Der Kaiser von Atlantis by Viktor Ullmann / Requiem d-Moll KV 626 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

In German and Latin language with German and English surtitles

Emperor Overall is the tyrannical ruler of Atlantis. When he finally declares a war between everyone and everyone else, Death decides to go on strike. In an act of populist demagogy, the Emperor claims the credit for delivering immortality. But with no one dying, the country descends into chaos. The Emperor is forced to accept that his power has been broken.   

Confronted directly with persecution and extermination by the Nazis, Viktor Ullmann composed Der Kaiser von Atlantis (The Emperor of Atlantis) in Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1943/44: a harrowing allegory critiquing inhuman warmongering and totalitarian power structures. In October 1944 – along with his co-librettist Peter Kien – he was deported on the so-called “Künstlertransport” to Auschwitz, where Ullmann was gassed to death and Kien died of an infection. Shifting between a contemporary opera, a mystery play and a dance of death, Der Kaiser von Atlantis presents a unique theatrical sound world. 

For the premiere KaiserRequiem, the conductor Omer Meir Wellber has defied convention to interweave Ullmann’s sixty-minute chamber opera with possibly the most famous torso in the history of music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s musical legacy, his Requiem in D minor KV 626 – composed in the face of death in 1791 and interrupted by death. KaiserRequiem is a dialogue between these two works about the great questions of human existence. However, KaiserRequiem is also a collaborative work by all sections of the theatre: the dancers of the Vienna State Ballet as well as the soloists and the chorus and orchestra of the Vienna Volksoper, directed and choreographed by Andreas Heise.


Viktor Ullmann
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Viktor Ullmann
Peter Kien
Musikalische Fassung
Omer Meir Wellber
Stage direction and choreography
Andreas Heise
Bühnenbild und Kostüme
Sascha Thomsen
Lighting design
Johannes Schadl
Roger Díaz-Cajamarca
Sounddesign und Szenische Assistenz
Kian Jazdi
Anne do Paço