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Facing Goya not for the fossilised, says director Ong Keng Sen

Is art about the head or the heart? Director Ong Keng Sen says that is the crux of Michael Nyman's controversial opera

Published on Aug 12, 2014 11:57 AM

The opening act of the Singapore International Festival of Arts is an opera "for the future, not for the fossilised", says its director Ong Keng Sen, who is also artistic director of the festival.

It is his rejoinder to American critics of the Michael Nyman-composed Facing Goya, after its debut at the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina, in May.

The roughly two-hour opera with a cast of five will be held at Victoria Theatre today and Saturday, as well as a by-invitation gala on Thursday.

Pseudo-scientific statements replace dialogue for much of the production, which has been trimmed by Ong, with Nyman's blessing, from a 2½-hour version put on in 2000 by the award-winning British composer in response to growing interest in genetic engineering.

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Where: Victoria Theatre

When: Today and Saturday, 8pm

Admission: $40 to $120 from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to www.sistic.com.sg)