First performed in Spain in 2000 then extensively revised for a second “premiere” in Karlsruhe in 2002, Facing Goya still ranks as Nyman’s most ambitious operatic work to date. Divided into four acts, lasting well over two hours, featuring five singers and scored for a large ensemble (effectively an expanded version of the Michael Nyman Band), it comes close to “grand” opera in design, which perhaps explains why the work has been overshadowed by the composer’s more approachable chamber operas.
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