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Michel van der Aa’s new film opera “Upload” on stage and screen

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“Upload”, the new film opera by Michel van der Aa exploring how life could become eternal in the digital sphere, receives its stage premiere at the Bregenz Festival on 29 July. A film version will be screened by Medici TV and streamed by Dutch National Opera from 19 July.

The world stage premiere of Michel van der Aa’s new opera Upload is presented by the Bregenz Festival in Austria on 29 July starring singers Julia Bullock and Roderick Williams. Otto Tausk conducts the Cologne-based Ensemble Musikfabrik and the direction of the stage production and immersive film are by the composer. The filmed part features actors Katja Herbers, Ashley Zukerman, Esther Mugambi, Samuel West, and Claron McFadden.
The Bregenz premiere is followed by performances at Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam this October, and at Park Avenue Armory New York and Opera Cologne in future seasons.

Upload was co-commissioned by Dutch National Opera, Park Avenue Armory, Oper Köln, Bregenzer Festspiele, and Ensemble Musikfabrik. Its Netherlands premiere will be on 1 October at Dutch National Opera, and further dates will follow in New York and Cologne in 2022/23.

Upload explores the possibility of attaining eternal life by uploading a digital version of ourselves, and investigates what this means for our ‘humanness’, our identity, and our relationships with others. What if our minds could live forever? Recent advances in artificial intelligence and neuroscience mean that we will soon be able to map our memories and experiences, and to use these data to build a digital consciousness identical to our own. These ‘whole brain emulations’ will be able to carry on indefinitely after we die, as a kind of virtual resurrection. But where do our identities really reside? In our minds, our bodies, or our relationships? And to what extent do the data of our lives determine our fate? Upload will explore these ancient philosophical questions against the backdrop of present-day and near-future technologies.

Upload was written, composed, and directed by Michel van der Aa, and created in close collaboration with set and lighting designer Theun Mosk, dramaturges Madelon Kooijman and Niels Nuijten, costume designer Elske van Buuren, director of photography Joost Rietdijk, motion and real-time graphic artist Darien Brio, VFX and fractal artist Julius Horsthuis, and a top-notch technical team.

More info about Upload at the Bregenzer Festspiele: bregenzerfestspiele.com


A film version of Upload, created by Michel van der Aa during the COVID pandemic, will be premiered on Friday 16 July on demand by subscribers from the Medici.tv channel (except in the USA), and starting the same day, can also be streamed from the Online Performances section of the Dutch National Opera’s website (in Netherlands only).

Medici TV – https://www.medici.tv
July 16, international release (US territory from April 1 2022)

Online platform Dutch National Opera – operaballet.nl
July 16 to August 27, exclusively to The Netherlands