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Ofer Ben-Amots Participates in Landmark Arts Collaboration

Ofer Ben-Amots Participates in Landmark Arts Collaboration

Colorado College Professor of Music Ofer Ben-Amots is participating in a landmark collaboration featuring five of Colorado’s leading arts and cultural organizations. The groups are joining forces in “A Journey of the Human Spirit,” a production designed to represent the true spirit behind the arts: community.

“A Journey of the Human Spirit,” an evening of instrumental music, opera, and dance will be performed at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 16 and Thursday, Jan. 17 at the University of Denver’s Newman Center for the Performing Arts. The program offers two new works: the regional premiere of Viktor Ullmann’s opera, “The Emperor of Atlantis,” and Garrett Ammon’s world premiere dance to set to Ben-Amots’ “From Darkness to Light.” Ullmann and librettist Peter Kien wrote the satirical opera, a thinly-veiled piece about Hitler, while they were imprisoned in the Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1943. Ammon is artistic director of Ballet Nouveau Colorado.

Ben-Amots is an internationally acclaimed, Israeli-born composer whose work is performed regularly in concert halls and festivals worldwide. “From Darkness to Light” is a re-orchestration of his “Concertino,” a composition for clarinet, mandolin, and orchestra that originally was commissioned by the Geneva Chamber Orchestra in 2011. The piece was premiered by the same orchestra in January 2012, in Geneva, Switzerland.

During the three-part evening of music and dance, attendees follow the human journey from the pre-Holocaust era, through the struggle against adversity and suffering, to an era of rebalancing and hope. The journey is undertaken through dance, opera and klezmer music, an Eastern European tradition celebrating life and happier times. This klezmer music leads the audience into the opera and is heard throughout the evening, specifically in Ben-Amots’ work.

Ben-Amots notes that “From Darkness to Light” is a celebration of the best of humanity, and fittingly concludes the evening on a note of light and hope. “The new work is intended to complement Ullmann’s dark and farcical opera and enable the audience to travel emotionally from the Holocaust-era dark sounds into a brighter, more hopeful sound of the cheerful klezmer music,” said Ben-Amots.

The collaborative production is produced by Ballet Nouveau Colorado, Central City Opera, Colorado Symphony, and the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, and Newman Center Presents. Additionally, Colorado Public Radio will broadcast the “The Emperor of Atlantis” live at 7:30 p.m., Jan. 16 and online at cpr.org.

More information is available at http://www.newmancenterpresents.com/der-kaiser-von-atlantis/