How A Botched Art Restoration In Spain Inspired Opera In Colorado

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Left to right: soprano Amy Maples, mezzo soprano Eve Orenstein and tenor Dean Fowler.

The New York Times called it "probably the worst art restoration project of all time."

Four years ago, Cecilia Giménez, a Spanish woman in her 80s, tried to restore a "ecce homo" fresco of Jesus. Giménez's version looked very different from the original -- think more monkey than Jesus Christ. Images of her botched attempt went viral and inspired a number of parodies, including a skit on Saturday Night Live.

Giménez's story is now an opera.

Librettist Andrew Flack, of Centennial, collaborated with Boulder composer Paul Fowler, who is also chair of the music department at Naropa University, on the comic opera "Behold the Man." They wrote two versions: one in English and one in Spanish. The Spanish rendition premieres Aug. 20 in Borja, Spain, the small town where it all took place.

Cecilia Giménez with librettist Andrew Flack.

Flack and Fowler spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner.


"Come Getcho Ecce" features Amy Maples, Adam Ewing, Amanda Lucarini, Paul Fowler and Ars Nova Singers.