<em>Sunken Garden </em>at English National Opera

Dallas Opera To Do Sunken Garden

Dallas will mark the American premiere of the opera Sunken Garden by Dutch composer Michel van der Aa and libretto by David Mitchell.

published Friday, November 18, 2016

Photo: Mike Hoban
Sunken Garden at English National Opera


Dallas — The Dallas Opera is adding another new opera to its future season. Today it was announced that Dallas will get the American premiere of Dutch composer Michel van der Aa's Sunken Garden in 2018.

The work was originally a co-production of English National Opera, Toronto’s Luminato Festival, Opéra de Lyon, the Holland Festival and London’s Barbican Centre. This opera also marked the first collaboration between the Dutch composer and British novelist David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas). Van der Aa will direct the Dallas production.

This comes on heels of the news that the Dallas Opera has co-commissioned a new work from John Adams, Girls of the Golden West, along with San Francisco Opera, Dutch National Opera and Teatro la Fenice. That work will debut in San Francisco in 2017 and make it to Dallas in the 2020-21 season.

Here's more from the Dallas Opera news release:


The Dallas Opera is privileged to announce that TDO will present the United States Premiere of composer Michel van der Aa’s critically acclaimed contemporary masterpiece, Sunken Garden, “a fantastical tale to set the ears and eyes popping” (New York Times headline) during the Texas company’s 2017-2018 Season.

The work, described by its creator as an “occult mystery film opera,” fuses film and live performance (including 3-D and other visual effects) to deliver what Steve Smith of The New York Times called “a bold, rewarding venture” during its 2013 English National Opera world premiere at the Barbican. The production coming to Dallas was reworked for a successful 2015 relaunch at Opéra de Lyon.

Dallas Opera performances—sung entirely in English with supertitles projected above the stage—are scheduled for March 9, 11(m), 14 & 17, 2018 in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center.  This astonishing work will be directed (both on film and on stage) by Mr. van der Aa himself.

The announcement was made by Keith Cerny, the Kern Wildenthal General Director and CEO of The Dallas Opera, at the conclusion of this evening’s “Composing Conversation with Michel van der Aa” at Studio Music Grill (Royal Lane, Dallas).

“I first experienced Sunken Garden in Lyon, France, in the spring of 2015” explained Mr. Cerny, “and found it a uniquely rewarding theatrical experience.”

“Michel is an outstanding composer, yet his skill as a videographer and his pioneering use of both two-and-three-dimensional projections, paired with live singers, stretch the boundaries that typically define “What is Opera?”

“Much like Joby Talbot and Gene Scheer’s Everest, the stunning visuals throughout this work and the brilliantly surreal libretto by Sci-Fi/Fantasy writer David Mitchell prompts a necessary rethinking of the art form itself.

“I found myself captivated by Michel van der Aa’s extraordinary musical and visual vocabulary—and many in the audience clearly shared my sense of awe,” Cerny adds. “I was certain we were witnessing a work of rare originality and multi-disciplinary innovation.

“Frankly, I couldn’t wait to bring it to the U.S.” Thanks For Reading

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Dallas Opera To Do Sunken Garden
Dallas will mark the American premiere of the opera Sunken Garden by Dutch composer Michel van der Aa and libretto by David Mitchell.
by Mark Lowry

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