Akhnaten was a pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of Egypt, and reigned from 1353-1336 BC. He took the throne after the death of Amenhotep III, and lived a life like many men; he married and raised a family, whilst trying to cope with pressure from his mother. As a ruler, Akhnaten is best remembered for his radical religious beliefs. He was inspired to try and unite the previous polytheistic beliefs of the Egyptians into a monotheism, worshipping Aten, the sun.
Akhnaten is the final installment in a trilogy of biopic operas, which includes Einstein on the Beach, about Albert Einstein, and Satyagraha, about Mahatma Gandhi. Like its predecessors, Akhnaten dispenses with any formal idea of plot. Instead, important moments in the timeline of Akhnaten’s life are depicted through the use of vocal and orchestra soundscapes, ancient hymns and texts, and Philip Glass’s characteristic minimalism. Akhnaten serves as a window into an entire ancient world, even incorporating original Egyptian, Hebrew, and Arcadian texts, to bring ancient voices back to life, and to celebrate the man who is now considered by many to be the founder of monotheistic religion.
Akhnaten guide sections