A black and white photo of a man behind a piano.
Phillip Glass. Photo: Gerard Monico.

Composed in 1983, Akhnaten was the last in a series of 3 operas by Philip Glass known as the “Portrait Trilogy.” The opera takes place in ancient Egypt during the life and rule of the Pharaoh Akhenaten. Coinciding with the current production at the Metropolitan Opera, this case installation situates the opera within the "Portrait Trilogy," and focuses on the creation and adaptation of musical material and ideas related to the work.

Items from the Jerome Robbins Papers reflect Robbins’ early interest in directing the opera and collaborating on the libretto. Although Robbins ultimately withdrew from input in the original opera, he maintained an interest in working with the music from Akhnaten and used excerpts for a ballet set to a range of music by Glass, Glass Pieces.

In this case installation on the lobby floor at the Library for the Performing Arts, we highlight some of these archival items illuminating the early history of the opera.

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