Michel van der Aa’s
West Coast Premiere
Miah Persson, soprano
Roderick Williams, baritone (film)
Netherlands Chamber Choir (film)
Klaas Stok, conductor
Michel van der Aa, composer, film and stage director
Sophie Motley, dramaturg
Floriaan Ganzevoort, lighting designer
Frank van der Weij, production development
Thom Stuart, movement advisor
Joost Rietdijk, director of photography
Melvin Kant and William Griffioen, film producers
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.
This event is part of Cal Performances’ Illuminations: “Human and Machine” programming for the 2022–23 season.