Michel van der Aa’s Sunken Garden had its world premiere at the Barbican Theatre, under the auspices of the ENO. Van der Aa is a well respected artist, closely associated with the Nederlandse Opera. His Up Close, presented together with Pierre Audi’s Liebestod in 2011, won a Grawemeyer award. Sunken Garden is a huge leap ahead from Up Close, and also from the earlier After Life, also presented at the Barbican and in Amsterdam. Sunken Garden is altogether more ambitious, and successfully achieves van der Aa’s dreams of linking different art forms to create a Gesammstkunstwerk for the age of technology. It will divide opinion, however, as anything truly experimental usually does.
“If you could take any one memory with you to eternity, which one would you choose?” In Michel van der Aa’s After Life several people meet in a waiting room.