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Michel Van De Aa's UPLOAD Wins International Opera Award

In 2026, Opera Forward Festival by Dutch National Opera will present the world premiere of Michel van der Aa's next project.

Michel Van De Aa's UPLOAD Wins International Opera Award

Michel van der Aa's Upload, which originated at Dutch National Opera's Opera Forward Festival, has been awarded as Best Digital Opera at the International Opera Awards ceremony in Madrid. Founded in 2012, the International Opera Awards is an annual celebration of excellence in opera around the world. Judging of the International Opera Awards is carried out by a jury of industry professionals headed by John Allison, editor of British monthly Opera.

When, due to Covid, the world premiere of Upload could not take place during Dutch National Opera's Opera Forward Festival 2021, the idea of creating a film version was born. Apart from the two singers Roderick Williams (Father) and Julia Bullock (Daughter), the film version also features actors Katja Herbers (Psychiatrist), Ashley Zukerman (CEO), Esther Mugambi (Scientist) and Claron McFadden (Childhood friend). Dutch National Opera was able to present the live version of Upload in October 2021, with Roderick Williams and Julia Bullock, directed by Michel van der Aa and with Ensemble MusikFabrik conducted by Otto Tausk. The film can currently be watched online via Medici TV and Marquee TV.

In Upload, Michel van de Aa questions what if our minds could live forever-if advances in artificial intelligence and neuroscience offered us a way to transfer our memories and experiences into a sustainable digital consciousness? Against the backdrop of present-day and near-future technologies, Van der Aa's opera explores age-old philosophical questions: what are the limits of human memory, and what happens when we are unable to forget? Where do our identities really reside-in our minds, our bodies, our relationships? And how far do the raw data of our lives determine our fate?

In 2026, Opera Forward Festival by Dutch National Opera will present the world premiere of Michel van der Aa's next project.

The Opera Forward Festival 2023 will take place 3 - 12 March 2023, presenting amongst other projects a world premiere of Alexander Raskatov's adaptation of George Orwell's Animal Farm, the European premiere of Tyshawn Sorey's Perle Noire: meditations for Joséphine with Julia Bullock and directed by Peter Sellars, and a world premiere of the musical collage Ändere die Welt!, which is created under the umbrella of [Collective Works].

Photo Credit: Marco Borggreve



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