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Spoleto Festival USA



Sponsored By: BMW Manufacturing Co.

Venue: Dock Street Theatre

Duration: Approximately 2 hours, 30 minutes


American Premiere

Composed by Michael Nyman
Libretto by Victoria Hardie
Directed by Ong Keng Sen
Conducted by John Kennedy

An opera for the 21st century, Facing Goya jumps from location to location, zig-zagging through three centuries mixing sci-fi, art history, and a little conspiracy theory to raise questions about who we are and how expectations factor into how we treat each other. Exhumed for repatriation to Spain in the late 19th century, Romantic painter Francisco Goya’s body was found without a head. In this taut thriller, a Goya devotee takes the rediscovered skull through history, trying to find a way to resurrect the painter’s genius and all the while using it as she sees fit. Award-winning composer Michael Nyman, whose film score for The Piano is ranked in Entertainment Weekly’s top 100 soundtrack albums of all time, partnered with librettist Victoria Hardie to construct this alluring opera. With a cinematic approach, Nyman uses driving minimalist rhythms and lyric melodies to explore ethics and artistic creativity. Singaporean Director Ong Keng Sen, who led the 2006 Festival sell out Geisha, directs this American premiere.

Sung in English.

Facing Goya is a co-production between Spoleto Festival USA and Singapore International Festival of Arts.

Sunday | May 25 | 3:30pm
Host Martha Teichner interviews Ong Keng Sen, director of  Facing Goya, and Conductor John Kennedy

  • Soprano #1 Anne-Carolyn Bird
  • Soprano #2 Aundi Marie Moore
  • Contralto (Art Banker) Suzanna Guzman
  • Tenor Thomas Michael Allen
  • Baritone Museop Kim


Opera programming is endowed by The Arthur and Holly Magill Foundation. These performances are made possible in part through funds from the Spoleto Festival USA Endowment, generously supported by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America.