Michel van der Aa - Upload

A film opera by Michel van der Aa

What if our spirit lived forever? What makes us human? Do we need a body to be human? Do we need tactile sensations to be human? Michel van der Aa deals with these and other questions in his film opera Upload

Van der Aa has embraced the integration of live music and theatre with state-of-the-art video and sound technology. Upload tells its story through live action, motion capture technology and immersive 3D film.

The opera is about a man in his fifties. He suffers from an unnamed disease that is slowly robbing him of his mental life and from which he knows he will die. He is a writer and asks to be uploaded to preserve his spirit and prolong his time with his daughter. The opera follows two timelines: the present, just after he is uploaded; and the recent past, the process of uploading. Free from his failing physical body, he is expected to be happy and not in pain. But something disturbing in the man's past begins to interfere with his virtual presence - a secret he has kept from his daughter for years.

Commissioned by and co-produced with the Netherlands State Opera, Cologne Opera, Bregenz Festival, Ensemble Musikfabrik (with the kind support of „experimente#digital – eine Kulturinitiative der Aventis Foundation), Park Avenue Armory New York, DoubleA Foundation.

Length: 80 minutes

Fotos: © Marco Borggreve

Interview mit Michel van der Aa



Julia Bullock, daughter
Roderick Williams, father
Ensemble Musikfabrik
Otto Tausk, conductor

Michel van der Aa, music/libretto/filmscript/staging
Theun Mosk, scenography and lighting
Madelon Kooijman/Niels Nuijten, Dramaturgie
We are Will, film producers



Saturday, 20 March2021, 20:00 | Amsterdam, Dutch National Opera (digital)

Thursday, 29 July 2021, 20:00 | Bregenz, Bregenz Festival (world premiere)

Friday, 30 July 2021, 20:00 | Bregenz, Bregenz Festival

Friday, 1 Oct 2021 - Friday, 8 Oct 2021 | Amsterdam, Dutch National Opera (5 performances)

You can find the latest dates in our concert calendar


experimente digital