US Premieres of van der Aa’s Sunken Garden and Violin Concerto in March
March 8 kicks off a busy month for Michel van der Aa, who has two major works receiving US premieres: his 2014 Violin Concerto for Janine Jansen, being performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra in Philadelphia and later at Carnegie Hall in New York; and his film-opera Sunken Garden, presented by the Dallas Opera.
Michel van der Aa’s 2017–2018 season (which kicked off with the hugely successful US premiere of Blank Out at the Park Avenue Armory) ramps up in March with US premieres of two major works. His Violin Concerto premieres on March 8 with Janine Jansen and The Philadelphia Orchestra, led by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who also bring the work to Carnegie Hall on March 13 for its New York premiere. On March 9–17, the Dallas Opera presents the first US production of van der Aa’s occult-mystery film-opera Sunken Garden.
Van der Aa’s Violin Concerto—championed by Jansen in cities around the world since its 2014 world premiere in Amsterdam with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra—was described by De Trouw as "a musical duel between the soloist and the orchestra with challenging music for both partners. The skill of van der Aa’s writing and his musical approach is, in a word, ‘sensational,’ with an immediately recognizable personal style." In a Playbill interview, Jansen described the Violin Concerto as "a very powerful and rhythmic piece" with "wonderfully lyrical moments."
The US premiere of van der Aa’s critically acclaimed film opera Sunken Garden at The Dallas Opera will feature singers Roderick Williams, Katherine Manley, and Miah Persson. Written with a libretto by British novelist David Mitchell (author of Cloud Atlas), Sunken Garden dives into a surreal world of crime and mystery that straddles two alternate realities. The opera features van der Aa’s signature combination of live action and video projections using 3D imagery.
Sunken Garden had its world premiere in April 2013 at the English National Opera. Opera Today proclaimed: "Sunken Garden is altogether more ambitious, and successfully achieves van der Aa’s dreams of linking different art forms to create a Gesamtkunstwerk for the age of technology." The New York Times called it "a fantastical tale to set the ears and eyes popping" and "a bold, rewarding venture that demands consideration." The Wall Street Journal wrote: "Sunken Garden ingeniously layers various media to create an alluring new form…Film and music align seamlessly; neither would make sense without the other."