In an attempt to save a forgotten and sadly deteriorated fresco of Jesus, an elderly woman in Spain tries her hand at its restoration, only to make matters worse. Outrage is rampant and threats are made; even the spirit of the original artist gets into the act. When a photo of her botched restoration goes viral, tourists from the world over arrive—mysteriously drawn to her efforts—helping revitalize the economy of the struggling town. Was it a miracle? Great outsider art? A selfless act of faith? Or just another internet meme?
BTM in the press…
CECILIA’S first aria in Act I. She’s had a dream the Lord has come to her requesting she restore the fresco. Naturally, she is willing to do this—she must follow her faith—but she is also unsure and afraid. Does she have the skill? Will she be successful?
Performed by Marcia Ragonetti
MY LITTLE HOTEL
Sung by MARCOS, CECILIA’S son and SILVIA’S father. He has borrowed money from CECILIA to invest in a small hotel, but because the Spanish economy is so terrible in 2012 he’s going broke and needs to sell. The problem is, there are no buyers and he’s panicked that he cannot repay his mother's loan.
Performed by Paul Fowler
In the style of the Spanish zarzuela, ARTIST MARTINEZ, the ghost of the fresco’s original 1930 painter is trapped between this world and the next. Realizing he’s partly to blame for the fresco’s poor condition, he’s caught between pride and shame…longing for respect, but also with issues unresolved. In this aria he reminisces on the times he spent in Campo de Borja in the 1920s, when he was a young man—when he taught at the university, owned the local hat shop, and of course, loved to drink the wine.
Performed by Adam Ewing
ADRIANA, the richest, most beautiful woman in town (also MARCOS’ wife and CECILIA’S daughter-in-law) sings about the difficulty of being wealthy…and that she’s just been diagnosed with the serious illness of having too much money.
Performed by Anastasia Jamieson and the Ars Nova Singers
In Act II, once the botched “Ecce Homo" image goes viral and becomes an Internet sensation, tourists begin arriving from around the world. ARTURO, SILVIA'S boyfriend, urges the people of Borja to make the most of this opportunity—to capitalize on their unexpected good fortune. In this high-energy number Borja goes boom!
Performed by Adam Ewing, Amy Maples, Amanda Lucarini, Paul Fowler and the Ars Nova Singers
Late in Act II, the townspeople realize that CECILIA has done them a favor, that she is the hero, the saint rather than the sinner. Tourism is up, the economy is improving, and there's a positive new charge in the air. This song is sung to CECILIA by her proud grand-daughter, SILVIA.
Performed by Amy Maples and Marcia Ragonetti with Amanda Lucarini, Paul Fowler and Adam Ewing
The text here comes from the Bible, 1 Corinthians, and seems to perfectly suit our story…that “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, the weak things of the world to shame the strong, the lowly things, and the despised things, and the things that are not, to nullify the things that are…” From Act II's grand finale, with CECILIA and her sister BEATRIZ leading the way to the entire company.
Performed by Kristyn Christman-McCarty, Amy Maples, Paul Fowler, Adam Ewing and the Ars Nova Singers
One could argue that what Gimenez did to frescoes, Flack and Fowler do for opera — not botching it, but bringing an old and oft-deemed archaic mode of artistic expression into contemporary relevance. —Huffington Post
Behold the Man on Colorado Public Radio