Upload, an opera by composer, director, and librettist Michael van der Aa, performed by Ensemble Musikfabrik, Park Avenue Armory, New York, NY, March 22–30, 2022.

Michael van der Aa’s Upload adroitly presents humankind’s inextricable woes as it embraces the spate of technological innovations that humanity might experience in the foreseeable future—if we, the human species, survive the climate emergency and the specter of nuclear annihilation. The opera focuses on the conundrum of uploading one’s consciousness to the computing cloud and the complexities of maintaining a digitized rebirth after death. This transformation lassoes a host of troubling ethical, moral, and psychological controversies into the fray, including the core existential question: “to be or not to be?” Once the main character, the Father, uploads his consciousness to the cloud—does he exist—or not exist?

The sparseness of the production stands in contrast to the current surfeit of new media art razzle-dazzle trends...

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