Resurrection: Introduction and Act 1 Scene 1, “May Day”

“Machover has a gift for making music that is direct and complicated at the same time, for mixing popular and arcane elements. The vocal writing [of Resurrection] often dazzles with grand melismatic flourishes; jazz tumults through the brutish seduction scene; a gripping rhythmic pulse catapults through ever-changing meters.” – Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times

Commissioned and premiered in 1999 by the Houston Grand Opera, Tod Machover’s Resurrection, called “a milestone and a noble achievement” (Lloyd Schwartz, National Public Radio), takes its inspiration from Tolstoy’s last novel, written more than one hundred years ago.

Resurrection captures an unusual love story between Prince Nekhlyudov (Scott Hendricks) and the serving girl Maslova (Joyce DiDonato). Though divided by class, their fates become intertwined when the Prince sits on the jury that unjustly condemns the young woman to prison. Despite a merciless justice system that does not allow for second chances, an amazing story of courage and redemption emerges.

ACT I, Scene 1 “May Day”

Prince Dmitry Nekhlyudov, a wealthy nobleman, is being dressed for the day by his valet. The sights and smells of emerging springtime fill the air and the Prince drinks it in. Suddenly, all the trappings of a courtroom move into place around him and a trial begins. Nekhlyudov is a juror.

The proceedings are perfunctory. Three people have been charged with robbing a man and poisoning him to cover up the theft. Two defendants, Simon Kartinkin and Euphemia Bochkova, are employees of hotel where the crime took place. The third is a beautiful young prostitute, Katerina Maslova (Katusha). When she speaks, Nekhlyudov is shocked to recognize her voice. In a flashback, he remembers meeting her for the first time nearly a decade before, at a May Day festival. She was an orphan living on his aunts’ estate; he was on furlough from officer training. They danced together and fell in love.

Libretto

FLASHBACK

Spring: The annual May Day celebration.

Location: A nostalgic 19th century rural Russian estate.

A May Day dance/peasant celebration is taking place. Everyone is dressed in beautiful, but simple, traditional white costumes. The workers and the owners of the estate celebrate together.

Prince Dmitry Nekhlyudov, on furlough from his officer training in the Guards, is visiting his Aunt Sofia with an army buddy and fellow officer, Patinkin.

CHORUS

For the snow and the rain are done with us, done with us,

Seasons turn from darkness to Light.

The Sun returns in the music of May for us.

For a day and a night Spring flirts with us, plays with us,

Plays with our lives and our nights while light stays with us.

Stays with us, plays with us, Season of Light.

For a day and a night that’s all we ask.

For a day and a night while the earth is turning,

Turning from Dark, turning to Light.

Stays with us, plays with us, for a day and a night, day and a night.

Seasons of Light, Seasons of Light, Seasons of Light.

***

PEASANT GIRL            Come and find your partner.

NEKHLYUDOV            I can’t dance.

PATINKIN            Yes he can! Come! Meet your fate!

CHORUS

For a day and a night love sings to us, plays with us.

Folds us round from darkness to light.

Our hearts rejoice in the music love makes with us,

Makes with our hands and our lips while love stays with us.

Stays with us, plays with us, stays with us,

Makes with our hands and our lips while love stays with us.

For a day and a night that’s all we ask

For a day and a night while the earth is turning,

Turning from dark, turning to light.

Stay with us, play with us, for a day and a night, day and a night, day and a night.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s