• Akhnaten
  • Akhnaten
  • Akhnaten


Behold, the power of the Pharaoh.
In 2016 Sean Gandini was asked to choreograph and perform in the Skills Ensemble of ENO production of Philip Glass’s Akhnaten. Joined by 9 Gandini Jugglers the piece premiered at the London Coliseum in March 2016 and transferred to the LA Opera house in November 2016. The ENO are expected revive the piece during 2018 followed by a run at the New York Met in 2019...

Directed by Phelim McDermott, with designer Tom Pye, Akhnaten explores the life and religious convictions of the Egyptian pharaoh, and forms the last of Philip Glass’s trilogy of ‘portrait’ operas in which he looks at figures from the fields of science (Einstein), politics (Gandhi) and religion (Akhnaten).

This hypnotically mesmerising work uses texts drawn from ancient hymns, prayers, letters and inscriptions sung in their original Egyptian, Hebrew and Akkadian.

Alongside working on the main stage production Akhnaten was used as a springboard to create a 30-minute music theatre performance with non-professional performers of mixed ages, working alongside the professional artists from the opera.  As part of the ENO Baylis Community Learning and Engagement programme, Gandini Juggling had an opportunity to develop the technical and physical skills of student, amateur and emerging jugglers - exploring the music and structural patterns drawn from the music and text of Philip Glass’s Akhnaten.

The community group used the physical language of ritual to access the ancient world of Akhnaten and four vignettes were created, each responding to a scene in the opera and the project culminating in a public performance at The British Museum. Professional performers from ENO production joined the participants and a short film has been created to document the journey and tell the story of the ‘Millions of Years project’. Click HERE to watch a short film of the project


Director: Phelim McDermott
Set Designer: Tom Pye
Costume Designer: Kevin Pollard
Lighting Designer: Bruno Poet
Choreographer: Sean Gandini

Co-production with LA Opera. Collaboration with Improbable


Olivier Award Winner (2017) for Best New Opera Production. 
Grammy Award (2022) for Best Opera Recording