Experience the magic of Philip Glass’ minimalist voice on this musical journey into the depths of Ancient Egypt. An extraordinary amount of effort has been put into maintaining the authenticity of the setting by basing the show on real hymns and prayers sung in their original languages.
Why Watch Akhnaten
After its first performance at the English National Opera in 1985, Akhnaten was performed over 20 times at various theatres around the world. It is Philip Glass’ third opera based on a historical figure. Akhnaten is one of the few shows that takes its setting and music very seriously, as enunciated by the Egyptian, Hebrew, and Akkadian vocals in a style that has now become synonymous with Philip Glass. The musical also generously employs coordinated juggling and orchestral singing to back the story. The narrative transcends cultural boundaries at times, sometimes borrowing from relatively recent European traditions to fill in the gaps.
The tale begins with Akhenaten's rise to the Egyptian throne after the death of his father Amenhotep III. His coronation is accompanied by great jubilation expressed by emphatic chorus singing and flashy juggling. The young pharaoh attempts to alter the general idea of ‘God’ and introduce the concept of monotheism in a fundamentally polytheistic society. Akhenaten's image as an able ruler spirals into public scorn and disgust, eventually resulting in him being overthrown by an enraged priest. While there is no clearly discernible storyline, the opera is a collection of vignettes within a meta-narrative. The soloists and chorus seamlessly blend into an orchestral style that is characteristic of Glass’ artistic pieces. An incredible degree of emotional depth is explored in the opera through its flawless music and visual presentation.
Fans of Opera | Fans of Philip Glass’ Work
“The ENO chorus and a troupe of jugglers shine in Philip Glass’s evocative opera about an empire-building pharaoh.”
– The Guardian
“At the centre of the evening is ENO’s chorus, which has a great evening from both a musical and a dramatic point of view.”
– The Stage
Know Before You Go
Children under the age of 5 will not be allowed inside the theatre. The show is not recommended for children under the age of 16.
The London Coliseum has a seating capacity of 2,359.
Strictly prohibited. If you'd like to grab a meal before or after the show, check out our guide to the 30 Best Restaurants in West End.
Smart and casual wear is recommended. Keep in mind, the theatre is air conditioned throughout the year and can get a bit chilly.
This experience cannot be canceled, amended or rescheduled.
You will receive an email with your voucher. You may display your voucher on your mobile phone. Please carry a valid photo ID for identification.