Four years after a well-meaning widow in a Spanish town botched the restoration of a century-old fresco of Jesus crowned with thorns, the episode is being celebrated there with a comic opera performed by professional singers and a local choir.
The image in the altered fresco, “Ecce Homo” (“Behold the Man”), was likened to a monkey or a hedgehog, and it was mocked in memes widely shared on social media. But the derision ultimately turned into gratitude for the widow, Cecilia Giménez, now 86: The alterations had a divine effect on the economy of Borja, a struggling city of 5,000 people in northeast Spain, as Spanish and foreign tourists visited to look at her handiwork.
A 45-minute abbreviated production of the opera, “Behold the Man,” will be staged on Aug. 20 in the courtyard of the gothic 16th-century Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mercy, where the fresco is encased on a wall, behind a clear cover.
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