BEHOLD THE MAN Comes to the Horn Theatre

Performances run September 30th at 7:30 pm & October 1st at 2 pm.

By: Sep. 11, 2023
BEHOLD THE MAN Comes to the Horn Theatre
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BEHOLD THE MAN Comes to the Horn Theatre

An elderly woman in Borja, Spain, attempts the restoration of a little-known fresco. Discovered before she can finish, the image is posted online and goes viral. Shamed on social media and shunned by her neighbors, she falls into despair. But soon curious tourists begin to arrive, restoring her place in the community, and reversing the fortunes of the tottering town.

On September 30th and October 1st, Opera Las Vegas will kick off its 25th anniversary season with the world premiere of "Behold The Man," a contemporary comic opera based on the true 2012 story of Cecilia Giménez's botched restoration of the "Ecce Homo" fresco in Borja, Spain.

Developed by composer Paul Fowler and librettist Andrew Flack, with versions in both English and Spanish, the pair kept all-age mainstream audiences top-of-mind using tuneful pop, classical and Spanish folk styles to tell the story.

"Because so much of what happened was driven by exposure on the internet," says Fowler, "we wanted the music to assume the same relevance as the memes which appeared in response. So we integrated an array of musical styles and genres from Gregorian Chant to Korean K-Pop. This is hybrid music theatre like you've never seen or heard before."

Working on the libretto, Flack found familiar operatic themes in play-love, faith and forgiveness-as "Behold The Man" poignantly weaves the absurdity of the situation with threads of the sublime.

"A medieval village finds itself at the mercy of the Internet," Flack says. "One of their own has embarrassed them. They react with fear and recriminations. But Cecilia has the faith to prevail, proving that grace under pressure is the wisest tact of all."

According to OLV's Musical Director and Principal Conductor, Joshua Horsch: "As far as new comic operas go there aren't nearly enough of them. 'Behold The Man' with its ironic twists of fate and poignant humor is a unicorn, and will make such a funny, uplifting addition to the repertoire."

During its ten-year development, "Behold The Man" has received an Arizona State University orchestral reading; placement in Ft. Worth Opera's "Frontiers" Workshop; and a university premiere at Wingate University in North Carolina. A concert in Borja, Spain, where the story is set, drew an SRO crowd of 700.

Of special interest: Marisa Ibáñez, niece of Cecilia Giménez, the opera's protagonist, will travel from Spain to celebrate the premiere with its creators.


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