Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Lifestyle - Tim Mayne

LOST and Found Opera In­cor­po­rated co-founder Chris van Tuinen ad­mits to hav­ing been bored at the opera.

That is why the ex­pe­ri­enced con­duc­tor goes to great lengths to source in­ter­est­ing ma­te­rial for pro­duc­tions at the Vic­to­ria Park-based com­pany.

His last pro­duc­tion The Em­peror of At­lantis, or Der Kaiser von At­lantis, was writ­ten by Jewish men Vik­tor Ull­mann and Peter Kien while in­terned in the Nazi con­cen­tra­tion camp of There­sien­stadt, oth­er­wise known as Terezin, in 1943.

The opera is about a dic­ta­tor who wants to wage war on the uni­verse, yet no one takes him se­ri­ously. The Nazis banned it due to its satir­i­cal por­trayal of Adolf Hitler.

The writ­ers were re­flect­ing on their own sit­u­a­tion among the 160,000 in Terezin, where only 10,000 sur­vived, said van Tuinen.

“Trag­i­cally the two men were sent to Auschwitz, where they were ex­e­cuted in 1944,” he said. “The manuscript was handed down to sur­vivors of the Holo­caust and was first per­formed in the Nether­lands in 1975.”

The State Gov­ern­ment pro­vided van Tuinen with a $31,000 grant to pro­duce the opera, which de­buted in June last year at the Perth He­brew Con­gre­ga­tion Sy­n­a­gogue in Menora. The per­for­mance at­tracted more than 700 peo­ple, in­clud­ing mem­bers of Perth’s Jewish com­mu­nity, and chil­dren and grand­chil­dren of Holo­caust sur­vivors.

“It doesn’t fit into the mod­ern opera cat­e­gory of op­eras, so it took the au­di­ence into in­ter­est­ing spa­ces,” van Tuinen said.

The pro­duc­tion in­cluded a full orches­tra and a choir of 13. ABC Ra­dio’s Clas­sic FM was on hand to record the opera.

Lost and Found Opera In­cor­po­rated has also shared in re­cent grants from the Depart­ment of Cul­ture and Arts. A $43,440 grant would be used to stage the com­pany’s next “lost opera”, Medea by Dar­ius and Madeleien Mil­haund.

Tick­ets go on sale in com­ing weeks, visit www.lostandfound opera.com.

Pic­ture: David Baylis

Lost and Found Opera In­cor­po­rated co-founder Chris van Tuinen has re­ceived a grant to stage his next pro­duc­tion.

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