Michel van der Aa is a truly multidisciplinary figure in contemporary music. A unique voice, he combines composition with film and stage direction, and script writing. Classical instruments, voices, electronic sound, actors, theatre and video are all seamless extensions of his musical vocabulary.
19 September 2021
Five staged performances of Upload are presented by Dutch National Opera this autumn, opening in Amsterdam on 1 October and starring singers Julia Bullock and Roderick Williams. Otto Tausk conducts Ensemble Musikfabrik and the direction of the stage production and immersive film are by the composer. The filmed part features actors Katja Herbers (Evil, Westworld), Ashley Zukerman (Succession, Designated Survivor), Esther Mugambi, Samuel West (Howards End, The Crown), and Claron McFadden.
Combining live music and theatre with state-of-the-art video and sound technology, Upload tells its story through live action, motion capture technology and immersive film. Scored for two singers, actors on film, ensemble and electronics, Upload describes a father who suffers from severe trauma and hopes to find happiness in a digital version of himself. He selects memories that have shaped his life, leaves behind his physical body, and returns home to his daughter as an “upload”. She tries to understand why he resolved to undertake the experiment. Is he still the same person? And what rights does this digital human copy have?
Order tickets for Upload at Dutch National Opera (1-8 October):
Upload successfully staged in Bregenz
The Dutch premiere follows the long-awaited stage premiere at the Bregenz Festival in July, following a series of COVID-related delays and postponements. Singers Julia Bullock and Roderick Williams were joined by Ensemble Musikfabrik conducted by Otto Tausk.
The production by the composer was praised for its “vivid images and multiple layers, with gripping music” (Neue Voralberger Tagezeitung), and the multi-media opera’s ground-breaking significance for the repertoire was acknowledged: “we want this work to survive, with a life on many stages” (Südkurier).