Once the set was created, he somehow managed to paint my portrait on to it. Then he photographed the whole thing. It's an incredible feat, and there's something strangely alluring about it. There's a window in the set, which is where my forehead is, and through the window you can see a photograph of me. The whole is a complex image which evokes a lot of the priorities in my life, and gradually you are drawn into it. It's been a revelation. When my father saw it he remarked on my eyes - they were just like my mother's.
The portrait was used on the cover of the programme for my opera Ines de Castro when it was premiered at Scottish Opera in 1996. The opera was dedicated to the memory of Sir Alexander Gibson, and Lady Gibson unveiled the portrait at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. There was a fanfare played that I'd composed. It was a lovely occasion.
INTERVIEW BY ANDREW MACPHERSON
James MacMillan's 'Quickening', a setting of poems by Michael Symmons Roberts for choir and orchestra, has its world premiere at the Proms this evening.
Calum Colvin's 1996 portrait hangs in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh (0131 624 6200)Reuse content