The generously packaged, slip cased 2-CD set contains a four-colour 44-page booklet with complete libretto. Man and Boy: Dada is the first in a triptych of chamber operas written by Nyman with librettist Michael Hastings. It tells the story of the unlikely friendships between the ageing Dadaist artist Kurt Schwitters, who is exiled in war-torn London; a 12-year-old boy called Michael, who shares the artist's obsession with collecting London Transport bus tickets; and Michael's mother, widowed by the war. The recording reunites the cast from the UK premiere performance at the Almeida Theatre in July 2004 – tenor John Graham Hall as Schwitters, William Sheldon as the boy, and soprano Vivian Tierney as the boy's mother. Paul McGrath conducts the Michael Nyman Band.
Nyman's identification with the storyline runs deep, for as a child growing up in South Chingford in the 1950s, he hoarded bus tickets as part of a collecting mania that also included cigarette cards, matchbox labels, coins and train numbers. In 2001, Hastings approached Nyman to suggest collaborating on a radio play about a post-war London boy who collected bus tickets. Nyman naturally recognised himself in the main character. But he also had an extra element to contribute to the story line. He had recently returned from Dusseldorf where he saw a Schwitters exhibition and discovered the artist's recurring use of bus tickets in his collages. The fusion of the two characters' mutual fixation leads to a friendship which drives the opera's plot which also reveals the terrible loss suffered by Schwitters as he was forced by the Nazis to leave Germany.