ASKO / Schoenberg Ensemble / Tausk

Michel van der Aa After Life

15 May 2010 / 19:30

£9 / 13 / 17 / 22.50 / 28

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Michel van der Aa After Life (UK premiere)

Hirokazu Kore-Eda
Michel van der Aa director/video-script and direction
Robby Duiveman costumes
ASKO / Schoenberg Ensemble
Otto Tausk musical direction
Claron McFadden Chief
Helena Rasker Bryna
Margriet van Reijsen Ilana
Yvette Bonner Sarah
Richard Suart Mr Walter
Roderick Williams Aiden

Which one memory would you choose to take to eternity? This is the essential question posed by After Life, a multi-media opera by Dutch composer and film-maker Michel van der Aa, based on a film by Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-Eda.

The opera’s six characters are about to trade their earthly existence for a place in heaven. They are allowed to choose one defining moment of their lives to take to eternity. Van der Aa, as director, integrates his stage characters’ struggles to recall this moment with on-screen documentary recollections – from a white south-African, a Polish Jew and a young boy for whom any strong memory means his dog.

Skillfully combining live stage action with film, music and an electro-acoustic sound-world, After Life uses multiple perspectives to explore our human need to discover meaning in the ordinary details of everyday life.

This Barbican performance features the original cast members from the 2006 world premiere, including Claron McFadden, an American soprano whose versatile voice is sought out by Baroque and jazz performers alike, and the wonderfully communicative British bass Roderick Williams.

Semi-staged Performance
part of Present Voices

Van der Aa’s skill at combining film and operatic action is breathtaking, as is the performance of the singers (including soprano Claron McFadden!) and the musicians.
Erik Voermans, het Parool, 3 June 2006

The beautifully measured mix of instrumental music and electronics, which resounded through the concert hall, was executed with an unusual degree of perfection. The opera’s strength lies in Van der Aa’s virtuoso meshing of all those different element into a new whole.
Roeland Hazendonk, de Telegraaf, 6 June 2006

Part of Barbican Lates Night: 15 May
Part of Present Voices
Part of Great Performers 2009 - 2010

This concert is presented in association with the Netherlands Opera.

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