Michel van der Aa

Film opera (2021)
Libretto by the composer
First performance in Austria
In English with German surtitles

Commissioned by and in co-production with De Nationale Opera, Amsterdam, Oper Köln, Bregenzer Festspiele, Park Avenue Armory, New York, Ensemble Musikfabrik, doubleA Foundation


29 July 2021 - 8.00 p.m., Werkstattbühne


approx. 1.5 hours (no intermission)

Is it possible to keep on living after death by uploading one's conciousness? It sounds like science fiction, but scientific advances could one day allow us to map our own memories and experiences using artificial intelligence and create a digital copy of ourselves. This would mean a sort of “virtual resurrection” and perpetual existence. But what price will we have to pay for immortality?

The film opera Upload explores human existence, poses questions about our identities and social relationships. Based on a specific situation, ancient philosophical debates meet present-day and near-future technologies. A father who suffers from severe trauma hopes to find happines in a digital version of himself. He selects memories that have shaped his life, leaves behind his physical body, and returns home to his daughter as an “upload”. She tries to understand why he resolved to undertake the experiment. Is he still the same person? And what rights does this digital human copy have?

The composer, film and stage director and librettist Michel van der Aa ventures to the frontiers of technological innovation in this highly topical contemporary opera. In Upload — as in his previous internationally successful productions Eight, Blank Out and Sunken Garden — he presents an intriguing visual and musical spectacle.

Father Roderick Williams
Daughter Julia Bullock

Music director Otto Tausk
Composition | Director | Libretto Michel van der Aa
Set and lighting designer Theun Mosk
Dramaturges Madelon Kooijman, Niels Nuijten
Image director Joost Rietdijk
Motion capture / Real-time graphics Darien Brito
VFX Supervisor & Fractal Artist Julius Horsthuis

Ensemble Musikfabrik

Additional information

Teaser: Upload

The film opera Upload by Michel van der Aa will celebrates its premiere on 29 July 2021 at 8 p.m. at the Werkstattbühne.