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“Eight” at November Music

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From 6-13 November, Michel van der Aa’s virtual-reality installation Eight will be presented as part of the November Music festival in the southern Dutch city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch. This spectacular fifteen-minute installation is experienced by one visitor at a time in the Verkadefabriek venue.

Eight premiered to critical acclaim at the 2019 Holland Festival. The Dutch newspaper NRC called it ‘an important work’ and ‘an unforgettable experience’ and The New York Times described it as ‘a breakthrough for virtual reality in classical music’. The protagonist in this ‘chamber-pop’ performance is Australian singer-songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke. She’s joined by Livia Kolk and Vakil Eelman and the Netherlands Chamber Choir, conducted by Boudewijn Jansen.

More information about Eight (in Dutch) and to book a time slot: novembermusic.net

Dutch premiere of “Upload” a resounding success

Following the world premiere this summer in Bregenz, Van der Aa’s opera Upload had its Netherlands premiere at the Dutch National Opera in October. The five performances garnished some very fine reviews. The New York Times called it ‘a masterly weaving of music, film and motion-capture technology’ and according to Holland’s Parool it was ‘a production that everyone must see’. The press was also enthusiastic about the performers: baritone Roderick Williams and soprano Julia Bullock, ensemble Musikfabrik and conductor Otto Tausk, as well as actors Katja Herbers, Ashley Zukerman, Esther Mugambi, Samuel West and Claron McFadden.
The next performances of Upload will be in spring of 2022 at Park Avenue Armory in New York and at Opera Cologne.

★★★★★ ‘Highly original […] Fantastic music’ – NRC
★★★★★ ‘Unimaginably stunning beauty’ – Trouw
★★★★★ ‘I have seldom experienced opera more intimately’ – Bachtrack

“Imprint” performances in Germany

Michel van der Aa’s piece Imprint is being used in four performances of the production ‘Pygmalion 4.0’ by the baroque ensemble ‘la festa musicale’, from 29-31 October in Hannover. Featuring choreography by Sara Ezzell, and actor Christoph Tomanek, the piece is ‘a musical search for artificial intelligence, idealism and insanity’.

Imprint is a contemporary and sometimes-humorous take on the concept of the 18th-century concerto grosso. Scored for the smaller, transparent forces of a baroque orchestra, it uses the idea of ‘the hand of a long-deceased Baroque composer’ as a literal weight on the keyboard of an organ. With the strings and oboes playing lively variations on baroque figures, the hand gets heavier and heavier as the piece progresses.

More information: lafestamusicale.de