PHOENIX – “Behold the Man,” an opera inspired by the story of the botched restoration of a fresco depicting Jesus crowned with thorns in a church in Borja, Spain, premieres Friday at Arizona State University’s Evelyn Smith Music Theater in Tempe.
“This concert is the first step toward the Spanish-language world premiere at the Teatro Principal in Zaragoza (Spain) in 2019,” Andrew Flack, the play’s director and librettist told EFE. “We are paving the way for the grand opening of what I consider to be my masterpiece.”
The opera – which features music by Paul Fowler and Brian DeMaris’ artistic direction – is a two-act show that tells the story of Cecilia Gimenez, the local octogenarian widow who took it upon herself to restore the century-old fresco, which was deteriorating in the Spanish church.
Ridiculed on the Internet for “the worst restoration in the history of art” and condemned by her community, the woman fell into a deep depression, but soon thousands of visitors from around the world vindicated the restorer and boosted the region’s economy.
“The opera will be a success, as it is of great interest worldwide and (had) a local impact,” said Flack. “It is an example of when history and music merge. It’s my life project, my moral, spiritual, romantic and political beliefs are all there.”