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When poet Fernando Pessoa died in 1935 he left behind a trunk filled with unfinished fragments – a treasure trove of scribbled anecdotes and idle thoughts. Among these were the pages that make up his posthumous masterpiece The Book of Disquiet – an autobiography of his alter ego Bernando Soares, composer Michel Van der Aa's inspiration.

Michel Van der Aa’s score transforms Pessoa’s collection of dream vignettes and autobiographical anecdotes into a hypnotic work that mixes spoken word, music, electronics and video, probing the true nature of the ever-elusive self. Renowned actor Samuel West joined the London Sinfonietta for its 2016 production of the work.

With Samuel West in terrific form as the pathologically solitary poet, Van der Aa’s own staging sending video projections flickering between several big, circular screens and Joana Carneiro conducting the London Sinfonietta in a razor-sharp account of Van der Aa’s score, it received a stunning UK premiere in the atmospheric Coronet Theatre " The Times

The London Sinfonietta shines in a beautifully crafted Michel van der Aa theatre piece " The Guardian

Production breakdown

Duration: 75’
Genre: Music theatre for actor, ensemble and film
Orchestration: + 1 percussion + AA player + electronics + actor + film (2 screens) (ensemble amplified)  = 16 players + actor + conductor + sound engineer
Artists: Conductor- Joana Carneiro / Director: Michel van der Aa / Actor: Samuel West / Sound projection: Sound Intermedia
Publisher: Boosey and Hawkes
Set (including screens and visual conent): available to hire from The Disquiet Foundation
World Premiere: 02/01/2009 Hafenhalle09, Linz Michel van der Aa, director / Klaus Maria Brandauer, actor / Bruckner Orchester Linz / Dennis Russell Davies
Libretto: after Fernando Pessoa, adapted by Michel van der Aa (E,G,Pt)
Language: Can be performed in English, German or Portuguese depending on availability of actors

Find out more

Please contact London Sinfonietta CEO & Artistic Director Andrew Burke for more information.

Click here to return London Sinfonietta's Projects.