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World premiere of ‘The Book of Water’
Michel van der Aa’s latest music theatre work ‘The Book of Water’ will have its world premiere on 19 September at 20:00 in the Teatro Goldoni in Venice, Italy, as part of the Venice Biennale.

The piece is based on a novella, ‘Man in the Holocene’ by Swiss author Max Frisch, adapted by Van der Aa and dramaturg Madelon Kooijman. The plot revolves around Mr Geiser, a widower living alone in a remote village, who fears he is losing his memory. Heavy rains have started landslides and the hills outside his house are starting to erode, as a parallel to his deteriorating memory. The boundary between exterior and interior blurs as Geiser becomes increasingly desperate to find a last moment of clarity, about himself, nature and civilisation.

‘The Book of Water’ combines on-stage action and music with film. The performance stars actor Samuel West and a string quartet from Ensemble Modern (live), with actor Timothy West and soprano Mary Bevan (on film). The film is projected on multiple surfaces around the performances, extending the space of the stage. As always in Van der Aa’s work, there is a seamless interaction between the film projections and the performers on stage.

For general information and tickets:

From 8-18 November 2022 the work will tour Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, with its German premiere in Frankfurt on 8 November. The Dutch premiere will be on 11 November in Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw. A tour of Asia will follow in spring of 2023. For details of the November performances, see

Symposium about Van der Aa’s work in Germany
From 15-17 September, the Ruhr-Universität in Bochum, Germany will host a symposium on the work of Michel van der Aa in its Institut für Theaterwissenschaft. The aim of the symposium is to discuss and examine ‘the social, political and discursive relevance’ of Van der Aa’s recent works.

Over three full days, musicologists and performers will discuss the composer’s recent music theatre works. The keynote speaker is Jelena Novak. Topics include ‘Es gibt keine Hardware. Mind Upload, oder: Sich den posthumanen Kopf zerbrechen’, ‘The threshold as topos in Michel van der Aa’s stage works’, ‘Psychoanalytische Gesichtspunkte der Verdoppelung in One und Up-Close’ and ‘Totgesagte leben länger? Überlegungen zur Relevanz der Oper im 21. Jahrhundert’. In addition, there will be viewings of ‘One’ and ‘Up-Close’, as well as a live conversation with both Michel van der Aa and soprano Julia Bullock, participating via Zoom.

Participation is free of charge to anyone interested.
For more information: van-der-Aa-Tagung-Programm-Flyer.pdf