THE Philip Glass opera Akhnaten, the very abstracted story of the Egyptian pharaoh who lived 35 centuries ago, is now at Los Angeles Opera. Glass considers it a trilogy, alongside his epochal Einstein on the Beach and his Gandhi opera, Satyagraha.
Akhnaten the man was a curious guy. Imagine being a fairly important figure — he is credited with basically inventing monotheism through his worship of a sun god, was a pharoah, etc. — and being less well known than your son, Tut. (King Tutankhamun, after all, only reigned for a few years, and died at 18. If he’d been a 21st century American, he would not have been old enough to drink.)
And Miles Davis made an album about Akhnaten’s wife, Nefirtiti.
The Glass opera, which is not put on all that much, thus serves as the introduction to the pharaoh and his plight for a lot of even pretty-educated people.
Because of pre-holiday madness here in the turkey-besotted States, I will have to make this brief, but I quite loved the opera and the LA production.