• Philip Glass
  • Akhnaten (reduced orchestration) (1983)

  • Dunvagen Music Publishers Inc (World)

Opera in three acts.
Libretto (Egyptian, Arcadian, Hebrew, and language of the audience) by the composer in association with Shalom Goldman, Robert Israel and Richard Riddell. Vocal text drawn from original sources by Shalom Goldman.
Timothy Sexton

  • 3perc/4kbd
  • SATB chor
  • Baritone, Bass, Countertenor, 4 Mezzo Sopranos, 4 Sopranos, Tenor
  • 3 hr
  • composer in association with Sahlom Goldman, Robert Israel and Richard Riddell
  • Arcadian, Egyptian, Hebrew

Programme Note

GLASS: Akhnaten
(reduced orchestration, arr. Sexton)

Keyboard 1: synthesizer
Keyboard 2: winds
Keyboard 3: brass
Keyboard 4: strings

Percussion 1: tom-toms 1, 2 (Act 1.i), tubular bells (Act 1.iii)
Percussion 2: tom-toms 3, 4 (Act 1.i), bass drum (Act 1.iii)
Percussion 3: cymbals (Act 1.iii)

The third in Glass' trilogy of operas about men who changed the world in which they lived they through the power of their ideas, Akhnaten's subject is religion. The Paraoh Akhnaten was the first monotheist in recorded history, and his substitution of a one-god religion for the multi-god worship in use when he came to power was responsible for his violent overthrow. The opera describes the rise, reign, and fall of Akhnaten in a series of tableaux.

© Philip Glass

Principal characters:

Akhnaten - countertenor
Nefertiti - alto or mezzo-soprano
Queen Tye - high soprano
High Priest of Amon - tenor
Horemhab - baritone
Aye - bass

Secondary parts:
Six Daughters of Akhnaten - 3 sopranos, 3 mezzo-sopranos