Two major premieres in the USA last month have won widespread acclaim, continuing Van der Aa’s successful US season. On 8 March Janine Jansen gave the first US performance of the composer’s
Both works were warmly received by the US press. Eric C. Simpson in the New York Classical Review called Jansen’s Carnegie Hall performance of the Violin Concerto ‘stunning’ and ‘riveting’. Describing the composer as ‘a consummate entertainer’, James R. Oestreich of the New York Times wrote that while the concerto was ‘less overtly theatrical’ than the operas The Book of Disquiet and Blank Out, it was ‘hardly less inventive musically’.
Of Sunken Garden, Monica Smart of the Dallas Observer wrote that ‘Van der Aa moved outside the boundaries of opera to create a fantasy world where the difficult questions of life cannot be escaped’. Scott Cantrell of the Dallas News praised all the singers, noting in particular the ‘radiant’ sopranos Manley and Persson, and the ‘warmth and clarity’ of Williams’ baritone. He further wrote that ‘Sunken Garden takes opera into new dimensions – literally.’