Post Page Advertisement [Top]

It felt like a really long time since I last went to an opera. The last one was Puccini's classic of Cio-Cio-san as Madama Butterfly last year. Facing Goyamarked the official reopening of Singapore’s Victoria Theatre following a four-year restoration. But when I read the synopsis the opening act of the Singapore International Festival of Arts, I was instantly sold. The opera looks at the influence of art, pseudoscience and money on human frailty and moral failures over the course of three centuries. It had all the elements of art, science and morality that reads "Take My Money Now"!

Facing Goya Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA)Trailer

Facing Goya is a taut thriller that follows one woman's passionate search for the 18th century Spanish artist Goya's missing skull. When Goya’s body was exhumed in the late 19th century, it was found without a head. Legend has it Goya asked friends to remove his head prior to burial to prevent tomb thieves and early craniometrists from getting hold of his brain for research.

In Facing Goya, the woman, a banker; takes us into the world of cloning and genetic profiteering. Surrounded by zealous scientists and eager business executives, she confronts the temptation of cloning Goya’s creativity for commercial profit, as Goya’s skull and DNA are fed to those exploiting science’s triumph over nature.
Facing Goya puts science on the cultural stage through the music of award-winning British composer Michael Nyman and the inspiration of one of the world's greatest 19th-century Spanish romantic painter, Francisco Goya.

Blending fact and fiction, the references, though, have now been noticeably refocused, with fewer scientists quoted and less ricocheting between time frames, making the transition from 19th-century brain theory to Nazi racial profiling to modern-day genetic engineering seem not just logical but inevitable. Facing Goya asks, "If Goya's skull was found, and if indeed, Goya’s creativity was cloned, what would happen? Can we clone the human soul?”

Facing Goya belongs in the tradition of hyperlink narratives, which weave together several smaller stories into a mosaic that makes a larger point about a given theme: David Mitchell's novel "Cloud Atlas" on the connections between human kindness and maliciousness throughout the ages, Krzysztof Kieslowski's "Three Colors" films about the ideals of Europe and Paul Thomas Anderson's "Magnolia" about the lasting effect of cruelty toward children.

Facing Goya uses this structure to ask questions about our own humanity through the perspective and notion of creativity in the persona of Goya. Goya represents not just an artist, but a creative spirit, an intellectual daring enough to look at the world around him and speak up about what was wrong.

The opera debuted in 2000, four years after Dolly the sheep was cloned, and the opera raises questions about the use and misuse of human genetics. Who we are happens through our experiences.

Festival Director Ong Keng Sen directs a brand new version of this highly imaginative opera together with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. The opera was modern, with extremely creative use of stage and video projection. A dark mix of science fiction, art history, biotechnology, ethics and conspiracy theory, Facing Goya was filled with two hours of Nyman’s highly atmospheric minimalist rhythm and a masterful juggernaut.

I leave you to enjoy the beautiful tracks from the opera:

"Leonardo Says"

The Size of the Brain, Facing Goya, Act 1 Scene 5

More Pictures of Facing Goya Opera Singapore International Festival of Arts 2014

Turandot: Night At The Opera
Puccini Gala: The Virgin Opera
Puccini's La Bohème Opera
The Tales of Hoffmann
Turandot 'Nessun Dorma'

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for visting and leaving your comments.

Bottom Ad [Post Page]