Director Phelim McDermott, whose productions include the hugely successful Satyagraha by Philip Glass, returns to the Met with Glass’s 1983 opera about the Egyptian pharaoh Akhnaten. It was Akhnaten – believed by some to have been a visionary madman, by others a genius – who established a monotheistic sun cult.
To match the opera’s hypnotic, ritualistic music, and exotic texts sung in their original Egyptian, Hebrew and Akkadian, is a staging of fabulous beauty. With opulent costumes by Kevin Pollard and designs by Tom Pye, the production even includes a virtuosic company of acrobats and jugglers.
The countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo stars as Akhnaten, with mezzo soprano J’Nai Bridges making her Met debut as Queen Nefertiti. Karen Kamensek conducts. This award-winning production was originally created by the English National Opera and LA Opera in 2016.