Michel van der Aa (1970)


Libretto and script from Michel van der Aa's film based on Ingrid Jonker's texts
Chamber opera for soprano, baritone, chorus and 3D movie
Blank out - credit : Priska Ketterer - Lucerne Festiva
© Priska Ketterer - Lucerne Festival
Composition, Staging & Film
Michel van der Aa
Conductor (film)
Klaas Stok
Sophie Motley
Ligthing Designer
Florian Ganzevoort
Thom Stuart
Miah Persson
Baritone (film)
Roderick Williams
Chorus (film)
Nederlands Kamerkoor

Commissioned by Dutch National Opera (Amsterdam), Festival de Lucerne, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma
With the support of Nederlands Kamerkoor, Ammodo, Fonds Podiumkunsten, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst

Score editors: Boosey & Hawkes

The sky may very well have turned blue
Or painted itself red
I walk behind my pain
And it carries your name

Ingrid Jonker: Ancient Hottentot song played on the guitar, 2012

With Blank Out, the Dutch composer, Michel van der Aa pushes back the frontiers of opera. Starting from the works of the South-African poetess Ingrid Jonker he invents an artistic language where music, theatre, 3D cinema and digital technology are mixed together. During the course of a dialogue which reunites a mother and her son over time, the distinction between reality and virtuality, between past and present progressively lose their sense. Certain memories come back to the surface revealing a long suppressed truth. Presented for the first time in France, Blank Out is an immersive experience which redefines the notion of "total art" in the XXI century.

  • The New York Times

    Not every composer is so versatile technologically, of course, and it remains to be seen how effective a model “Blank Out” will be for the future of opera. Mr. van der Aa, at least, can undoubtedly be counted on to continue to point up the possibilities.
  • The Guardian

    The Woman, who is almost constantly on stage, makes or breaks this opera, and Miah Persson gave a riveting, superbly sung performance. Blind panic, rationalisation, tenderness, disassociation – she cast and recast the molten metal of her voice into the ever-changing feelings of the mother.
  • National Sawdust

    [Michel van der Aa’s] music – a mélange of stark melodies and bruised harmonies; spare polyphony among Persson (and Perssons), Williams, and the recorded Netherlands Chamber Choir; and atmospheric electronica – complements his beautifully elliptical text, conveying mood potently.
  • Bachtrack

    Williams sings with his usual intelligence and compelling sincerity on the film, while the live performance is an astonishing tour de force for Persson, meticulous in its detail, and perfectly controlled. Though enigmatic and at times mystifying, the whole piece becomes a wonderfully fluent and effective piece of music theatre.
Saturday 13 July 2019
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Sunday 14 July 2019
Book online

Prices: 35€, 25€, 10€
Young person's tariff: 9€
Family Opera tariffs
Performance available with ticket packages 100% opera or 100% creation

1 hour and 10 minutes without interval

Sung in English with French subtitles