Michel van der Aa

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April 2013

World premiere Sunken Garden

Sunken Garden - bloodpondSunken Garden

Michel van der Aa’s latest opera, Sunken Garden, made a splash on its premiere run at London’s Barbican Theatre. As the first opera to use 3D video it was sure to receive a lot of advance publicity. But the performances themselves attracted international media attention, and polarised opinion.

Although some in the British press were critical of the work, writers for other outlets responded favourably. Anne Ozorio of Opera Today described it as ‘A Gesamtkunstwerk for the age of technology’, and Steve Smith of the New York Times called it ‘A provocative combination of live performance and cinema … Unquestionably a bold, rewarding venture’. Writing on his Slipped Disc blog, Norman Lebrecht described it as ‘the first genuine 21st-century opera … not so much an opera as a projection of what opera ought to be’.

From US, German, Dutch and English blogs, to their newspaper counterparts it was certainly the most discussed premiere that ENO have staged for a long time. The seven performances at the Barbican were nearly full, and attracted a young audience, including many who were seeing an opera for the first time.

Sunken Garden now moves to a sold-out run at the Holland Festival this June, and Opera de Lyon in Spring 2015.

about

Michel van der Aa (Netherlands, 1970) 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.

upcoming performances

  • 19 April 2017
    Imprint
    The Tempest
    Polish National Ballet. Choreography by Krzysztof Pastor
    Dance Open Festival, St Petersburg, Russia
  • 13 May 2017
    Blank Out (German premiere)
    Katherine Manley, soprano
    Roderick Williams (film), Nederlands Kamerkoor (film)
    KunstFestSpiele
    Orangerie Herrenhausen, Hannover, Germany
  • 17 June 2017
    Attach (Israel premiere)
    Israel contemporary players
    Ed Spanjaard, conductor
    9pm, Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel

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