Libretto by Michel van der Aa after Hirokazu Kore-Eda (E)
0.1.1.bcl.0-0.1.0.1-positive org(=hpd)-strings(126.96.36.199.2); electronic soundtrack; video projections
Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, Amsterdam
Michel van der Aa, director / Netherlands Opera / Asko Ensemble / Otto Tausk
World premiere of version
Michel van der Aa, director / Asko/Schönberg Ensemble / Netherlands Opera / Otto Tausk
What was the most defining moment in your life? This is the question that stands at the heart of Michel van der Aa’s opera. Taking the film of the same name by Hirokazu Kore-Eda as its basis, the opera introduces us to people who are taken directly from their earthly existence into heaven. They may experience their most important memory once more in the form of a film and then take it with them into eternity. A complex structure results from a combination of live action, film, live music and electronic sounds, which van der Aa builds further onto his successful one act opera One – itself awarded the Matthijs Vermeulen Prize in 2004. Extremely diverse time-periods are reflected in the music and in the plot, although the work nevertheless preserves its clarity and an unequivocality that flows ceaselessly from its humanistic base.
"Michel van der Aa is the hottest property in Dutch music at the moment... Van der Aa's piece combines the imaginary with the real, intercutting the fictional operatic action with documentary video interviews in which a variety of people are asked to remember the defining moments in their lives... But it's the meshing of that plot with the documentary elements that proves so teasingly effective, for as the 100-minute piece goes on, the boundary between the two blurs until the four interviewees are seen on video encountering the operatic characters, so that their touching stories seem to infuse the fantasy with something much more directly emotional. It's a strange effect, supported and sustained by van der Aa's ensemble writing, which is dominated by richly detailed string textures and enriched by electronic transformations."