Michel van der Aa’s Blank Out premiers at Cal Performances/UC Berkeley, with Swedish soprano Miah Persson enthralls, baritone Roderick Williams and a contributions of the Netherlands Chamber Choir. Inspired by the life and work of South African poet Ingrid Jonker, themes as tragedy, memory and loss are explored. Find more information here.
Michel van der Aa, winner of the 2015 Johannes Vermeer Award and 2013 Grawemeyer award, is a truly multidisciplinary figure in contemporary music. A unique voice, he combines composition with film and stage direction, and script writing. Classical instruments, voices, electronic sound, actors, theatre and video are all seamless extensions of his musical vocabulary.
In a performance the Guardian called “an astonishing tour de force,” Swedish soprano Miah Persson enthralls at the center of Blank Out, Michel van der Aa’s chamber opera about tragedy, memory, and loss. Persson is the sole performer onstage, but throughout the work, she interacts with a video of her character’s grown son (baritone Roderick Williams), sings with a recording of the Netherlands Chamber Choir and with layered recordings of her own voice, and films herself as she navigates a miniature set of a country house, the imagery projected in real time to create the 3D backdrop that she inhabits onstage. In van der Aa’s singular creation, what is real and now melds with what is remembered and what is felt as Persson and Williams reveal a shared trauma, inspired by the life and work of South African poet Ingrid Jonker.