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World premiere 26 September.

He was the last of the Old Masters and the first modernist. The artist Goya is portrayed by Anders Larsson in this season’s world premiere.

Goya painting

The Spanish artist Francisco de Goya is the central figure of the work. He has been called the last of the Old Masters and the first of the modernists. Through in-depth studies of various parts of Goya’s life, we are able to experience both the outer and the inner world of the artist and to follow his development from court painter to pioneering portrayer of the horrors of war. One of our country’s most experienced composers, Daniel Börtz, has written the music. Magnus Florin wrote the libretto with its profuse gallery of characters. Annsofi Nyberg has created almost 200 18th century costumes inspired by Goya’s paintings and Lars-Åke Thessman has built up a visually elusive setting with a gigantic camera obscura in the centre.

Watch clip from the performance.

Watch pictures from the performance.

Daniel Börtz
Daniel Börtz

After five years of work the time has finally come for the premiere of Daniel Börtz’s Goya. The fact that GöteborgsOperan can present a newly-written opera of this magnitude is a sensation.

“Goya is without doubt the most comprehensive and dense opera I have ever done,” says Daniel Börtz. One of his earlier works was “Backanterna” (Bacchae, based on Euripides), with its premiere in 1991 under the direction of Ingmar Bergman. There Daniel Börtz also met the legendary scenographer, Lennart Mörk, who was the first to hit upon the idea of an opera about the artist Francisco de Goya. “It took me a while to understand what an interesting idea it was,” says Daniel Börtz. “Goya was a fascinating character and a central figure. He can be compared to Beethoven. It is true that Goya was 24 years old when Beethoven was born in 1770, but they both lived during the same violent period, marked by repression and war.” “They also both had such a revolutionary charge, that their respective art forms were fundamentally altered by their achievements,” says Daniel Börtz. The libretto for Goya was written by Magnus Florin, author and principal dramaturgist at Dramaten. “Magnus’ authorship is exceptionally precise and sharp in profile which is why Lennart and I chose him. Opera text must not be too vague, then there is nothing left for the other art forms,” says Daniel Börtz. Emil Carlsson.

Excerpt from article in GO nyheter no. 4 © 2009.

Watch GöteborgsOperan’s orchestra rehearsing.

Learn more about Goya.

Robert Hughes’ biography from 2003 is rated as one of the finest works written about Goya. At least three films have been made about Goya. In Milos Forman’s great film “Goya’s Ghosts” the leading part is played by our own Stellan Skarsgård. In Spain there are several Goya museums. In the house of his birth in the village of Fuendetodos on the outskirts of Zaragoza, a number of graphical works are displayed. In the chapel San Antonio de la Florida in Madrid there is a mausoleum and brilliant frescoes. At the Prado museum in the same city, several of Goya’s most important paintings are on display. Emil Carlsson.

From GO Nyheter no 4 2009.

Other rewritten, newly-written operas.

Det Kongelige Teater in Copenhagen reaped great success this spring among both the public and critics with the opera version of P.O. Enquists novel Livläkarens besök. (The Visit of the Royal Physician). Enquist wrote the libretto to Bo Holten’s music. July saw the opening performance of the singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright’s opera Prima Donna about an ageing diva. At the premiere in Manchester the author appeared dressed as Verdi. In August The British Opera House invited the general public to write an opera libretto with contributions from the micro-blog Twitter.

From GO Nyheter no. 4 2009

From the libretto.

Act 1, Scene 4. A well-lit duchess in a dark land / Witches are merely funny (Goya, The Duke of Osuna, The Duchess of Osuna).

Don Pedro Tellez Giron de Alcantara.
The Duchess of Osuna.
Doña Maria Alonso Tellez and Borjia Markisinna of Pimentel, duchess-countess of Benavente, eighth duchess of Osuna.
Duke of Osuna.
Marquis of Penafiel, ninth duke of Osuna.

Anders Larsson
Anders Larsson

Your most humble... (interrupted)

Stop...I am a well-lit duchess in a dark land. Pamphlets are conveyed from Paris to my golden halls Voltaire and Diderot... I believe in the revolution and I ooze yesteryear. Paint me with Rousseau in my right hand. Man is born free! In my left hand a fan of ivory. Ownership is the root of all evil. Silk, velvet, gold embroidery. President of the women’s section of the Economic society. Paint carefully the collar’s fine lace. Now I am a shepherdess and you a donkey. GOYA
Your most loyal... (interrupted)

A donkey frisky and jolly took a bath in the stream by golly. And the sun it shone so warm on the donkey that bright morn. A shepherdess followed the shoreline with the hem of her skirt in her hand. Then along came the donkey swimming. The shepherdess shrieked blue murder... (hesitates) Tell me, painter, why do I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night?

Your most obedient... (interrupted)

I look men straight in the eyes. I speak of the questions of the age without blushing. Portray me so strong, certain, clear. But when I light the lamps all is black. A sorceress stares, bats screech. I hide myself in a silk drapery. Then you see me and paint. My face is not mine; it is sharp, frozen, like iron in the cold. Why do you go? I thought you went to the duchess of Alba. Watch out for her, she is... Stay in my comedy, stroll with me in the park. I am in my salon and everyone speaks freely of freedom. But my guests look at me and whisper is she not with the shadows? I wished to be light, but am heavy like A grain of lead that falls.

Anders Larsson, Katarina Giotas
Anders Larsson, Katarina Giotas

Your most loyal...

Don Pedro Tellez Giron de Alcantara. Marquis of Penafiel, ninth duke of Osuna.

Your most humble...

It was just a game, witches are funny. Reason. I.


  • Genre: Opera
  • Season: 2009/2010
  • First show: 26 Sep 2009
  • Last show: 7 Nov 2009
  • Location:

    Main Stage

  • Length: 3 hours, including 1 interval.
  • Introduction:1 hour before performance (not on premieres), on The Opera Bar/ Small stage. Limited number of places.
  • Info:The Göteborg Opera Main Stage


Conductor   Joakim Unander
Director   Wilhelm Carlsson
Set Design   Lars-Åke Thessman
Costume Design   Annsofi Nyberg
Lighting Design   Torkel Blomkvist
Choreography   Håkan Mayer

Role list

Goya   Anders Larsson
Zapater   Anders Lorentzson
Xavier   Fredrik Zetterström
Karl IV/Ferdinand VII   Michael Weinius
Godoy   Mats Persson
Hertigen av Osuna   Linus Börjesson
Inkvisitorn   Iwar Bergkwist
Jovellanos   Johan Schinkler
Doktor Arrieta   Henric Holmberg
Drottning Maria Luisa/Hertiginnan av Alba   Ann-Marie Backlund
Hertiginnan av Osuna/Leocadia   Katarina Giotas
Josefa   Ann-Kristin Jones
Grevinnan av Chinchon/Rosario   Natalie Hernborg
.   GöteborgsOperans Kör
.   GöteborgsOperans Orkester


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