Facing Goya is a taut thriller that follows one woman’s passionate search for the 18th Century Spanish artist Goya’s missing skull. Her journey takes us into the dangerous world of racial stereotyping, gene therapy, cloning and humankind’s follies as seen through Goya’s paintings, etchings and captions. The idea for the opera arose from Michael Nyman’s fascination with the insidious study of craniometry that developed in the 1870s.
Goya was regarded as one of the greatest painters of his time. Buried in Bordeaux, legend has it that he asked friends to ensure his head was removed prior to burial to prevent the early craniometrists and researchers of eugenics from getting hold of his brain.
Box Set includes Full Libretto and extensive booklet notes.
Contains FREE BONUS CD of highlights of Michael Nyman’s two previously released operas on MN Records.
Release date: 26 April 2011
By HATICE AHSEN UTKU | Today’s Zaman
Michael Nyman is a living musical legend: a pioneer in minimalist music, famous for his operas, such as “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat” and “Facing Goya,” and for scoring many films, most notably for director Peter Greenaway and for Jane Campion’s “The Piano.” Now, the British composer-pianist-librettist-musicologist and his eponymously named band are taking to the Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall stage on Friday.
By Nicola Christie | The Independent
Playwright Mark Ravenhill and composer Michael Nyman have given a new spin to a classic opera, discovers Nicola Christie.
On the surface they don’t have much in common: Michael Nyman, composer of the “killingly popular” – his words – soundtrack to The Piano, grandee of the UK music world now trying to get his operas onto serious UK stages, and Mark Ravenhill, risqué playwright who brought Shopping and Fucking to our stages in 1996 and has continued to challenge audiences’ tolerance levels ever since. But Monteverdi’s Coronation of Poppea has unleashed in the two artists a rather extraordinary new venture that, if cared for properly, could fuel a surge in opera-going, and opera-writing, that could be very exciting.
Michael Nyman’s composition De L’hotel de la ville a la Concorde, originally written for the Michael Nyman Band, has been arranged for saxophone quartet and will feature on the upcoming Lunar Saxophone Quartet release, “Flux.”
(shown as part of Cine Opera)
Insouciant goldfish slowed to supineness swim vacuously toward us and float languidly back out of the frame in this Nyman offering, at first reminiscent of countless relaxation videos. Underpinning the enchanting and warmly colourful scene, rich in tangerine and cyan, is placid piano and low string tones. A parakeet training record runs in the background, the stroking sounds of sofly murmured repetition, echoic phrases that our feathered companions will learn to in turn amuse and soothe us. “Pretty boy” is followed by “Clever little boy”, “Good morning”, “Mama’s little treasure” and a host of others. The gently swimming goldfish presented provide the counterpoint, and we are subtly made conscious of the role of these animals in our lives: the aural pleasure of the birds’ well-learned phrases counter-balances the visual pleasure provided by the fish. As the title suggests, we are presented with two enticements, the “pretty” and the “talk”. The viewer is left to bathe in sensual pleasures or perhaps resist the enticement to an all too pervasive (ab)use of pets. All comes to an increasingly disconcerting end as the melifluous female warblings are replaced by harsher, more insistent tones. The agreeable gradually gives way to the abrasive, and we are cordially escorted out of the scene…. Seductive and yet thought-provoking.
- Kenton Turk | Directors Lounge
Pretty Talk screened in cooperation with Myriam Blundell Projects