SYNOPSIS with SELECT SONGS


Late summer, 2012, the Aragon village of Borja, Spain

ACT I


Scene 1
In the church, we find CECILIA with her sister BEATRIZ at their morning devotionals. CECILIA reveals she’s had a dream in which the Lord has come to her urging the restoration of the badly deteriorated and long-ignored “ECCE HOMO” fresco. BEATRIZ is concerned her sister might not have the skill, nor permission, to begin. The scene ends with the ghost, ARTIST MARTINEZ, the fresco’s original painter, introducing himself to the audience, bemoaning the lack of respect that’s been shown him, or his work of art.

Act I
Scene 2
In the plaza, the MAYOR addresses the townspeople about their economic crisis and strategies to improve tourism. MARCOS informs the gathering that as a gift to his wife, ADRIANA, on their anniversary he will commission the restoration of the “ECCE HOMO” fresco painted by her grandfather. The MAYOR latches onto the idea that the fresco’s restoration will be good for the town. No one else shares his optimism. By the meeting’s end, MARCOS hands the money for the restoration to OLD PRIEST, who is charged with finding the proper restorer.
Act I
Scene 3
In the church, CECILIA studies the fresco and prays that she will have the courage—and the strength of eyesight—to do the work the Lord has bid her to do. Meanwhile, OLD PRIEST reveals that the fresco has little artistic value and he may cut corners in the commissioning process. He makes CECILIA swear an oath that if she attempts the restoration, she will never divulge that she was the restorer. CECILIA promises him he won’t be disappointed.
Marcia Ragonetti
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Scene 4
In the plaza, MARCOS laments the state of tourism and the imminent demise of his struggling hotel. When his aunt BEATRIZ happens upon him affixing a “For Sale” sign, we learn that it was his mother, CECILIA, who loaned him the start-up cash for the venture, and the shame he feels for not being able to repay her loan has caused their estrangement. 
Paul Fowler
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Scene 5
In the hat shop that bears his name, ARTIST MARTINEZ reminisces on the times he spent in Campo de Borja in the 1920s as a young man; teaching at the university and drinking the local wine.

SILVIA and ARTURO open the shop, rueing their tough luck coming of age in such dark economic times. Just outside, ADRIANA, the wealthiest woman in town, makes her grand entrance, having recently been diagnosed with the serious disease of having too much money. When her husband MARCOS arrives and tells her of his anniversary gift, she is nonplussed, except to say she’ll be happy to see her grandfather’s fresco restored, as long as it’s not the work of his mother, CECILIA.
Adam Ewing
00:00
Anastasia Jamieson, Amy Maples, Amanda Lucarini, Paul Fowler, Adam Ewing, Ars Nova Singers
00:00
Scene 6
Back in the church, CECILIA begins the restoration of the “ECCE HOMO” as a concerned ARTIST MARTINEZ looks on. While he fully supports a restoration of his work, he’s certain CECILIA’S not the one for the job and soon things go dreadfully wrong. MARTINEZ attempts to assist her, but cannot. At the curtain, the fresco is in the process of great transformation.

ACT II


Scene 1
We’re in the church on the morning after the fresco’s transformation. A sheet covers the “ECCE” as OLD PRIEST stonewalls the townspeople and stands guard as if at a crime scene. ARTURO slips off the fresco’s veil which produces a great gasp of horror. ADRIANA suspects CECILIA was the perpetrator and a mob forms to search for her, meanwhile, ARTURO and SILVIA take a “selfie" and post it to Facebook.

Act II
Scene 2
When the church is empty, a distraught and disheveled CECILIA reveals herself from behind a pew, followed by the ARTIST MARTINEZ. OLD PRIEST enters reminding CECILIA of her vow of silence, but when MARCOS appears, she immediately confesses to the crime. MARCOS grills OLD PRIEST for the whereabouts of the restoration money as the first wave of TOURISTS storm into the church in search of CECILIA and her “Monkey Jesus” that they’ve seen online.
Act II
Scene 3
In the Plaza, more TOURISTS arrive as internet memes circle the globe. But how should the town respond? Cover the fresco and lock the church? With courage and conviction ARTURO steps up to present his big ideas to the MAYOR who agrees to make the most of this crazy situation. When CECILIA arrives to deliver her mea culpa, BEATRIZ comes to her defense. ARTIST MARTINEZ begins to understand and accept his role at the center of the proceedings.

Scene 4
In the church, SILVIA and ARTIST MARTINEZ clean up some family business— amends are made and wounds are healed. When MARCOS and ADRIANA enter, he suggests to her that as bad as his mother’s restoration is, their economy has greatly improved and his hotel is full. Alone now in the church, OLD PRIEST confesses to CECILIA that he used MARCOS’ money not for a selfish purpose, but to support his aged wife now in the old folks home.
Amy Maples, Adam Ewing, Paul Fowler, Amanda Lucarini, Ars Nova Singers
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Amy Maples, Marcia Ragonetti, Amanda Lucarini, Paul Fowler, Adam Ewing
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Scene 5
With TOURISTS flooding into town the MAYOR proclaims CECILIA the town’s new hero until ADRIANA crashes the affair insisting on royalties as Martinez’ heir. OLD PRIEST staggers in with a fist-full of cash collected by the church as an entry fee. But it’s the MAYOR who drops the bomb: it’s not the church, nor the Martinez family, nor CECILIA who owns the fresco, but the city. And our sage MAYOR offers the ultimate solution—that all four parties should profit equally. As the town celebrates, MARCOS repays his debt to CECILIA and they have a powerful mother-and-son coming together.
Scene 6
In the church, BEATRIZ joins CECILIA for worship as they did in Act I, Scene 1. ARTIST MARTINEZ shows up dressed for traveling, feeling resolved and confident enough to be released from his earthly ties. For the finale, CECILIA and BEATRIZ are joined onstage by the full cast singing from 1 Corinthians: “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong, God chose the lowly things, and the despised things, and the things that are not, to nullify the things that are.”
Amy Maples, Kristyn Christman-McCarty, Paul Fowler, Adam Ewing, Ars Nova Singers
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Characters by voice

ADRIANA: soprano, 40s
SILVIA: soprano, 20s
CECILIA: mezzo soprano, 80s
BEATRIZ: contralto, 70s
MARCOS: tenor, 50s
MAYOR: tenor, 40s
ARTIST MARTINEZ: baritone, 30s
ARTURO: baritone, 20s
OLD PRIEST: bass, 70s