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Philip Glass’ Akhenaten – Interview, Review and Pics


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Akhenaten Interview, review Blain Crellin

Michael Gillies-Smith interviewed by Blain Crellin

In the beginning was the Source.

Akhenaten – meaning “living spirit of Aten” (God and Source) was a Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt.

He ruled Egypt and the World surrounding  for 17 years and died Circa 1336 BC….. the Sun became the only Source and God according to Akhenaten … dispelling many other worshipped Gods of the time.

Akhenaten was the father of Tutankhamun.


Philip Glass composed the hauntingly eternal opera – which vibrated with chanting choral melodies … returning upon itself … and with the period costumes connected the listener to an age rediscovered.

The performance was held on the March Equinox 2016 in which UNESCO recognises as the day of cultural significance for humanity. The days and nights are equal across the Planet.

DSC_1998An ‘Opera on the Mountain’ was held just outside of Castlemaine (a 90 minute drive from Melbourne) in the Sutton Grange valley.

Mount Alexander is a strong spiritual centre for the local Aboriginal Jarra People.

The Jarra that night spoke about the area, the cleansing effect of the smoke ceremony and of the Eagles of which two flew overhead for much of the first half of the opera. This was a particularly spiritual moment – eagles connecting the sky with the performance, and the land with its inhabitants.


As the scene a for beautiful opera rose … the sun slowly set in time with the flux of an equally aligned Planet.

The performance was directed by Michael Gillies-Smith who also sang and performed along with Nicholas Tamagna


(Akhenaten) and Nefretiti who was sung by Sally Wilson who also performed this opera in the first performance of Akhenaten in Germany in 1984.

The choir was the Consort of Melbourne conducted by David Kram


The weather was a perfect 25 C, no wind, no flies, lovely wine and local food (cheeses) and a fabulous backdrop which totally enhanced the production.

A beautiful event ever to be remembered. Thank you.


Blain Crellin

(Interview. Photography. Review)

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