Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Auditorium
Eternal life – digital
To live forever: it’s possible as an upload, a digital version of yourself. It sounds like science fiction, but in the not-all-too-distant future, it will be possible to transfer our memories, thoughts and experiences to an artificial brain. A utopia for some; it means we can exist forever and that our loved ones would never have to miss us. But what are the consequences for our humanity, our identity and for our relationships?
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Libretto Michel van der Aa
Musical direction Otto Tausk
Stage direction Michel van der Aa
Set and lighting design Theun Mosk
Costumes Elske van Buuren
Dramaturgy Madelon Kooijman and Niels Nuijten
Father Roderick Williams
His Daughter Julia Bullock
Orchestra Ensemble MusikFabrik
Composition commissioned and coproduced by Dutch National Opera; DoubleA Foudation (Amsterdam); Ensemble MusikFabrik (Cologne); Oper Köln (Cologne); Bregenzer Festspiele; The Armory (New York)
Sung in English
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The strength of Upload is the perfect interplay of its various disciplines. The interaction of the images on the screen and the singers on the stage, the interplay between analogue and digital music, the transition from singing to the delicate sounds of the ensemble are so successful that the individual elements are no longer recognizable as such.
The Ensemble Musikfabrik, directed by Otto Tausk, creates worlds both furiously dramatic and warmly tender. The live music is a duet with electronic sounds so perfectly prepared that the boundaries are blurred. In particular, the performance of the singers ensures highpoints.
‘The brain is the last analogue device in a digital world’, says one of the characters in the film opera Upload, which had its successful premiere at the Bregenz Festival. The Dutch composer and multidisciplinary artist Michel van der Aa plays out the idea of self-digitisation with all its consequences. Van der Aa finds poignant moments that are wonderfully delivered by the two vocal soloists. […] We want this work to survive, with a life on many stages.
As part of the Opera Forward Festival, The Dutch National Opera gave a unique preview of the brand new opera in Upload - behind the scenes where the viewer was able to follow its creation process. Friday 16 July the film version of Upload had its premiere. The theatre production premieres on 1 October.
Ensemble MusikFabrik was founded in 1990. The ensemble is dedicated to contemporary music and is in high demand worldwide. They often seek out interdisciplinary forms in which media such as electronic music, dance, theatre and film are combined with chamber music. The collective has worked with big names such as Karlheinz Stockhausen, Heiner Goebbels and Louis Andriessen. In 2021, Ensemble MusikFabrik will make its debut at the Dutch National Opera with the Dutch premiere of Michel van de Aa's Upload, led by conductor Otto Tausk.