Michel van der Aa's Upload

Michael van der Aa (stage director), Otto Tausk (conductor) — With Roderick Williams (Father), Julia Bullock (Daughter), Katja Herbers (Psychiatrist) ...

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Michel van der Aa — Stage director, screenwriter

Theun Mosk — Lighting, scenography

Elske van Buuren — Costumes

Madelon Kooijman — Dramaturgy

Niels Nuijten — Dramaturgy

Darien Brito — Motion capture, real-time graphics

Joost Rietdijk — Director of photography

Julius Horsthuis — VFX supervisor, fractal artist

Roderick Williams — Father

Julia Bullock — Daughter

Katja Herbers — Psychiatrist

Ashley Zukerman — CEO

Esther Mugambi — Scientist

Claron McFadden — Childhood friend

David Eeles — Friend 1

Tessa Stephenson — Friend 2

Hank Botwinik — Friend 3

Program notes

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, Michel van der Aa’s provocative new opera Upload 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?

Acclaimed British baritone Roderick Williams and American soprano Julia Bullock, one of the most exciting and fastest-rising stars of the opera stage, play the roles of a father and daughter ineluctably confronted with such questions when his consciousness is “uploaded” following a traumatic event. Van der Aa, who wrote the music and libretto for the opera, also directs this stylistically inventive version for the screen, with the operatic duo’s stellar performances complemented by a cast of compelling screen actors. Motion capture graphics by Darien Brio and striking visual effects by fractal artist Julius Horsthuis add to the uncanny immersiveness of this unique production from one of opera’s most audacious creators.

Photo © Marco Borggreve

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