- Facing Goya
"Facing Goya" is a 2000
operain four acts by Michael Nymanon a librettoby Victoria Hardie. It is an expansion of their one-act opera called "Vital Statistics" from 1987, dealing with such subjects as physiognomyand its practitioners, and also incorporates a musical motif from Nyman's art song, "The Kiss", inspired by a Paul Richards painting. Nyman also considers the work thematically tied to his other works, "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat", "The Ogre", and " Gattaca", though he does not quote any of these musically, save a very brief passage of the latter. It premiered at the Auditorio de Galicia, Santiago de Compostela, Spainon August 3, 2000. The revision with the cast heard on the album premirered at the Badisches Straatstheaterin Karlsruhe, Germany, on October 19, 2002. "Vital Statistics" has been withdrawn. The Santiago version included more material from "Vital Statistics". [Pwyll ap Siôn. "The Music of Michael Nyman: Text, Context and Intertext". Aldershot, Hants: Ashgate Publishing, 2007. p. 197]
The new opera deals with the
elitismand prejudiceof various movements in pseudosciencesand art criticism, wrapped around a thread of a desire to make a clone of Francisco Goyathrough use of his long-lost skull, which he hid from the likes of Paul Broca, and which the Art Banker finds under a floorboard in a " degenerate art" gallery in Act II. This skull is the object of numerous fights in the second and third acts, often with one character snatching it from another. The opera is non-realistic in its presentation, with only one through-character, the Art Banker. Indeed, when Goya does appear, it is not the result of cloning, but a purely fantastical device. Four other performers play different roles in each section who are thematically connected. In addition, two actors are called for in non-speaking roles. The Art Banker also speaks narration into a dictaphone, but this was omitted from the studio recording, though the lines are reprinted in the booklet.
Art Banker, a widow( contralto), loves Goya, but is corrupted by money. She foolishly wants to patent Goya's talent gene. Despite this, she is the most charismatic and sympathetic figure of the satire. She is a time tripper. An art banker is a person who deals in exchange of famous artworks among museums. This character is currently a specialist in the work of Goya.
Soprano1 ( coloratura), obsessed with science, she lives in her head, and is the one who ultimately cracks the human genome. (Craniometrist 1, Eugenicist/Art Critic 1, Microbiologist). At one point she nearly chokes herself with a tape measure, but continues to sing.
*Soprano 2 (lyric), unhappy indvidualist who sees the dangers of
racismin gene control. She is opposed to cloning and State ownership of genetic readouts. She does not believe that recreating a person recreates that person's talent. (Craniometery Assistant 2, Art Critic 2, Genetic ResearchDoctor)
Tenor, a shallow opportunist who believes eugenic theories are reflected in art. His greed leads him to want to make the first laboratory cloned human. A product of genetic engineering himself, he expresses his arrogance in the arietta, "I am an oil painting". (Craniometry Assistant 1, Eugenicist/Art Critic 3, Chief Executiveof a Bio-Tech Company)
Baritone, he doesn't agree with anyone, and they don't like him. He is humorous and self-deprecating, fatalistic, and thinks little of the uniqueness in humankind. (Craniometrist 2, Art Critic 4, Genetic Academic, Francisco Goya)
Soldiers, apparition of Goya, craniometry interns, porters, lab technicians.
The play moves through three times and places (act 3 and 4 are the same location weeks apart, and all but the baritone remain the same character). The libretto calls for "a Goyaesque landscape of bare
brancheswith bloody clotheshanging off them, and stones jutting out of the earthlike gravestones, in the manner of a charcoal drawing." Projections of art and diagramsare used throughout the production.
The Genetic Research Doctor (Soprano 2) "wears
jeansand a sparkly T-shirt".
The Genetic Academic (Baritone) "wears
bicycle clipsand a helmet".
The Microbiologist (Soprano 1) "wears a
thigh length zip top, leather miniskirt, and stud earrings."
This is the first opera Nyman has scored with his band in mind. The studio recording includes five
violins, two violas, one cello, two double basses, two each soprano and alto saxes (doubled), baritone sax, flute, alto flute, piccolo, trumpetand flugelhorn(doubled), French horn, bass trombone(doubled), tuba(doubled), euphonium(doubled), and electric guitar.
Name = Facing Goya
Type = studio
Cover size = 200
Caption = Album cover of 2002 recording, conducted by the composer.
November 26, 2002
Recorded = June 2001, March 2002, May 2002 (
Abbey Road Studios) May 2002 ( Snake Ranch)
Opera, Contemporary classical music, minimalism
Length = Disc 1: 71'56"
Disc 2: 61'54"
Language = English
Label = Warner Classics
Producer = Michael Nyman
MusicWeb International(mostly favorable) [http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2003/Mar03/Nyman_goya.htm]
Last album =
String Quartets 2, 3 & 4/If & Why
This album =
Next album =
24 Heures de la vie d'une femme
Misc = A recording was released in 2002. It is Michael Nyman's 44th album.
Alexander Balanesculeft the band during the recording of this album, and his concertmasterseat awarded to Gabrielle Lester, who previously recorded with the band on " La Sept" (1989).
Hilary Summersas the Art Banker
Winnie Böweas Soprano 1
Marie Angelas Soprano 2
Harry Niccollas Tenor
Omar Ebrahimas Baritone
Michael Nyman Band
Alexander Balanescu, violin (leader, Acts 1-3)
Gabrielle Lester, violin (leader, act 4)
Catherine Thompson, violin
*Gillian Findlay, violin
Katherine Shave, violin
*Catherine Musker, viola
*Bruce White, viola
Tony Hinnigan, cello
Roger Linley, double bass
*Steven Williams, double bass
Martin Elliott, bass guitar
*David Roach, soprano, alto sax
Simon Haram, soprano, alto sax
Andrew Findon, bartione sax, flute, alto flute, piccolo
*Steve Sidwell, trumpet, flugelhorn
Nigel Gomm, trumpet, flugelhorn
*David Lee, French horn
Nigel Barr, bass trombone, tuba, euphonium
Andrew Fawbert, bass trombone, tuba, euphonium
James Woodrow, electric guitar
*Produced by Michael Nyman and
*Engineer: Austin Ince
Andrew Dudman, Roland Heap, Ryu Kawashima, Andrew Nicholls, Paul Richardson, Alex Scannell
Abbey Road Studios, London, June 2001, March 2002 and May 2002
Snake Ranch, May 2002
Sony Studios, London, June and July 2002
Bob Whitneyat Sony Studios, London, August 2002
A&R: Dirk Lange
Vivienne Guiness, Nicholas Hare, Michael Hastings, Jude Kelly, Graham Sheffield, Harry Lyth, James Mackay, Julio Marti, Jonathan Moore, Michael Neve, Karen Price, James Rushton, Neil Wallace
Chester Music Limited/Michael Nyman Limited 2002
*Art direction and cover illustrations:
Thierry Cohen, Paris
*Cover illustrations contain a detail of
Petrus Camper, drawing, and portrait of Francisco Goya
*Special thanks to Max for the x-ray of his skull.
Libretto by Victoria Hardie. Essays by Michael Nyman,
Robert Worby, and Dr. Michael Nevein the booklet of the album, Warner Classics0927-45342-2
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Francisco Goya — Selbstbildnis von 1815 Francisco de Goya (* 30. März 1746 in Fuendetodos, Aragón; † 16. April 1828 in Bordeaux; vollständiger Name Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes) war ein spanischer Maler und Grafiker. Inhaltsverzeichnis … Deutsch Wikipedia
Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes — Selbstbildnis von 1815 Francisco de Goya (* 30. März 1746 in Fuendetodos, Aragón; † 16. April 1828 in Bordeaux; vollständiger Name Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes) war ein spanischer Maler und Grafiker. Inhaltsverzeichnis … Deutsch Wikipedia
Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes — Selbstbildnis von 1815 Francisco de Goya (* 30. März 1746 in Fuendetodos, Aragón; † 16. April 1828 in Bordeaux; vollständiger Name Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes) war ein spanischer Maler und Grafiker. Inhaltsverzeichnis … Deutsch Wikipedia
Francisco de Goya — Selbstbildnis von 1815 Francisco de Goya, vollständiger Name Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (* 30. März 1746 in Fuendetodos, Aragón, Spanien; † 16. April 1828 in Bordeaux) war ein spanischer Maler und … Deutsch Wikipedia
Francisco de Goya y Lucientes — Selbstbildnis von 1815 Francisco de Goya (* 30. März 1746 in Fuendetodos, Aragón; † 16. April 1828 in Bordeaux; vollständiger Name Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes) war ein spanischer Maler und Grafiker. Inhaltsverzeichnis … Deutsch Wikipedia
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