Paul Fowler ’01 thought the story had all the elements of a comic opera — a botched restoration of a fresco of Jesus that went viral on the Internet and ended up resurrecting the sagging economy of a village in Spain.
Seven years after an elderly woman’s attempt to repaint a church fresco became an Internet sensation, the opera based on the incident, “Behold the Man,” will be featured at Frontiers, a series of new works presented by the Fort Worth Opera from May 8 to 9. The two-hour work takes its title from the original image in the altered fresco, known as “Ecce Homo.”
Fowler, who composed the music for the two-hour work, says he hopes the performance of a staged reading by a professional opera company will lead to what he and his librettist, Andrew Flack, have been working toward — a full-scale production of “Behold the Man.”
“This is the professional opera world that’s actually showcasing our piece,” says Fowler, who studied composition at Ithaca College and now lives in Boulder, Colorado. “That is the next step, for sure.”