Michel van der Aa (Netherlands)
Libretto by Michel van der Aa, after Hirokazu Kore-eda
Could you distil your life to a single instant? A moment that, if all else were to fade, you would choose to live with for the rest of eternity? Michel van der Aa, house composer for the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam and one of contemporary opera’s most assured and ambitious voices, burrows deep into the very question of why we live with this profound contemporary masterpiece.
As six lost souls gather in limbo, they are asked to decide on the one memory each of them will take with them into the afterlife. Those who cannot choose must remain, trapped in purgatory until they can find a way to move on.
Based on the acclaimed 1998 Japanese film of the same name, this landmark Netherlands production is a heart-rending fusion of music, theatre and film. The textured vocals of the six singers, set to an ethereal score performed by a 23-piece orchestra, blend with an intriguing element of documentary: as the characters struggle to choose a single, defining memory, their stories are intercut with footage of real people contemplating the same decision.
Grandiose in scope, Van der Aa’s audacious blending of arts makes for a fitting final operatic presentation from Festival Director Brett Sheehy, who throughout his work with festivals around Australia has sought to champion contemporary opera as a vivid and essential 21st century art-form. After Life joins such works as Jonathan Mills’s Eternity Man, Jonathan Dove’s Flight, Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar and Pascal Dusapin’s Medea in bringing us another compelling demonstration of contemporary opera’s artistry and vitality.
Michel van der Aa is giving a free public lecture at Monash University on Saturday 13 October at 12pm. Register here.
Van der Aa is also participating in the free Ringside: Artists in Conversation series on Friday 12 October at the Festival Hub.
'One of the most distinctive of the younger composers today. His ability to fuse music, text and visual images into a totally organic whole sets him apart from nearly all his contemporaries.
Composer, Stage Director, Video Script & Direction Michel van der Aa
Technical Production Development Frank van der Weij
Costume Designer Robby Duiveman
Film Projection Flint Louis Hignett, Bert Hornback, Dee Jager, Esther Jager, Tessa Marwick,
Conductor Wouter Padberg
Aiden Roderick Williams
Mr Walter Richard Suart
Sarah Marijje van Stralen?
Ilana Margriet van Reisen
Chief Yannick-Muriel Noah
Bryna Helena Rasker
Representatives of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Thu 11 - Sat 13 Oct at 7.30pm
|A Reserve Full||$100.00|
|A Reserve Group (8+)||$90.00|
|A Reserve Senior||$85.00|
|A Reserve Concession||$75.00|
|B Reserve Full||$80.00|
|B Reserve Senior||$68.00|
|B Reserve Concession||$60.00|
|B Reserve Student||$25.00|
|C Reserve Full||$56.00|
|C Reserve Senior||$47.60|
|C Reserve Concession||$42.00|
|C Reserve Student||$25.00|
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