Michel van der Aa / News / 

US Premieres of Sunken Garden and Violin Concerto

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Janine Jansen

March 8 kicks off a busy month for Michel van der Aa, who has two major works receiving US premieres: his 2014 Violin Concerto for Janine Jansen, being performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra in Philadelphia and later at Carnegie Hall in New York; and his film-opera Sunken Garden, presented by the Dallas Opera.

Michel van der Aa’s 2017–2018 season (which kicked off with the hugely successful US premiere of Blank Out at the Park Avenue Armory) ramps up in March with US premieres of two major works. His Violin Concerto premieres on March 8 with Janine Jansen and the Philadelphia Orchestra, led by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who also bring the work to Carnegie Hall on March 13 for its New York premiere. On March 9–17, the Dallas Opera presents the first US production of Van der Aa’s occult-mystery film-opera Sunken Garden.

Van der Aa’s Violin Concerto – championed by Jansen in cities around the world since its 2014 world premiere in Amsterdam with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra – was described by Trouw as “a musical duel between the soloist and the orchestra with challenging music for both partners. The skill of Van der Aa’s writing and his musical approach is, in a word, ‘sensational,’ with an immediately recognizable personal style.” In a Playbill interview, Jansen described the Violin Concerto as “a very powerful and rhythmic piece” with “wonderfully lyrical moments.”

> Watch an excerpt of the Violin Concerto on the composer’s website
> More information about the Violin Concerto
> Event Page: March 8 at Verizon Hall in Philadelphia
> Event Page: March 13 at Carnegie Hall in New York

The US premiere of Van der Aa’s critically acclaimed film opera Sunken Garden at the Dallas Opera will feature singers Roderick Williams, Katherine Manley, and Miah Persson. They will be accompanied by the Dallas Opera Orchestra, conducted by Nicole Paiement.

Written with a libretto by British novelist David Mitchell (author of Cloud Atlas), Sunken Garden dives into a surreal world of crime and mystery that straddles two alternate realities. The opera features Van der Aa’s signature combination of live action and video projections using 3D imagery.

This will be a fully staged performance of the reimagined adaptation conceived for Opéra Lyon – more intimate and more physical – and premiered there in 2015. It follows previous performances of Sunken Garden at London’s Barbican Hall (2013) and the Holland Festival (2013), and semi-staged versions given last October at the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and Essen Philharmonie.

Performances take place on 9, 11, 14 and 17 March, and more details and booking can be found via Dallas Opera.

> Watch a trailer video for Sunken Garden
> More information about Sunken Garden
> More information about Dallas Opera’s production of Sunken Garden

Performances of both of these works continue what has been a successful US-focused season so far for Van der Aa. In November the short choral piece Shelter, a setting of excerpts from Tehillim chapter 5 and inspired by the plight of modern-day refugees, was given at Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival. And at the start of the season, in September, Blank Out completed a sell-out run at New York’s Park Avenue Armory, and was described in The Wall Street Journal as “emotionally intense … disturbing and unforgettable.”