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German premiere of "The Book of Water"

Michel van der Aa’s latest music theatre work The Book of Water will will mark its German premiere on March 21 at the Kölner Philharmonie. The performance stars actor Samuel West and a string quartet from Ensemble Modern, with actor Timothy West and soprano Mary Bevan on film.

The Book of Water had its acclaimed world premiere September 2022 at the Venice Biennale. Peter Krausse, writing in Opernwelt, described the piece as ‘Ein Genialisches Gesamtkunstwerk’, and The Guardian’s Andrew Clements wrote ‘Typically elegant and thoughtful music theatre work…the integration of the live and the recorded is immaculate, the cinematography coolly elegant’.

The The Book of Water is based on the 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 was commissioned by La Biennale di Venezia, Ensemble Modern, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam Sinfonietta, November Music, Philharmonie Cologne. Hong Kong Arts Festival, and Tongyeong Festival. With support of Ammodo, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Cultuurfonds Bank Nederlandse Gemeenten, Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung, stichting Reinbert de Leeuw, and Société Gavigniès.

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