Resurrection: Act 1 Scene 2 – Dinner at the Korchagins

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 1 Scene 2, Dinner at the Korchagins

That evening, Nekhlyudov arrives late for a dinner party given by the Korchagins, whose daughter Missy is generally assumed to be his intended bride. He explains his experience in the court and how the unjust verdict has unsettled him, but his aristocratic hosts do not understand. When Missy is alone with Nekhlyudov, she attempts to seduce him, to cement his commitment to her. Nekhlyudov is repelled. He suddenly comprehends that he can never marry Missy, and that he must set things right for Maslova whatever the cost. He leaves.

Libretto

Nekhlyudov and Missy enter the dining room as the Korchagins and their guests are finishing dinner.

PRINCE KORCHAGIN                        Le voila! Le voila!

NEKHLYUDOV                        Good evening. Forgive me for being late.

PRINCESS KORCHAGIN            Entrez! Entrez! Entrez! You’ve come at just the right moment.

PRINCE KORCHAGIN                        Stephen! Brandy for the Prince!

(Stephen serves brandy to Nekhlyudov)

MISSY                                   He’s nervous
That’s a good sign.
Will he ask me to marry him tonight?
Will I say yes, right away,
Or make him suffer for making me wait?

PRINCE KORCHAGIN       Have you succeeded in undermining the basis of society?
Acquitted the culprits and condemned the innocent, n’est-ce pas?

PRINCE MYAGKAYA          Undermining the basis… Undermining the basis… c’est pas vrai?

NEKHLYUDOV            There’s been an injustice. A terrible injustice. A young girl… a prostitute…
She’s innocent, perfectly innocent…

PRINCESS KORCHAGIN            Are these people ever innocent?

NEKHLYUDOV            We’ve made a terrible mistake. She’s been condemned to Siberia.

PRINCESS KORCHAGIN            Oui, oui…

NEKHLYUDOV            You don’t understand. I must do all that I can to right this wrong.

PRINCE KORCHAGIN            Why get involved?

PRINCESS KORCHAGIN            Who is this girl to you?

NEKHLYUDOV            I knew her…

                                         (hesitates, he’s on very uncomfortable ground)

PRINCE KORCHAGIN            We’re all ears…

NEKHLYUDOV            She was a serving girl in my aunt’s estate at Panovo.

PRINCE KORCHAGIN            Et alors…

MISSY            And now she is a prostitute?

NEKHLYUDOV            Yes.

MISSY             I really don’t see why this should concern you.

PRINCE MYAGKAYA            (with a knowing wink) The Prince is a man of action.

PRINCESS KORCHAGIN            Except when it comes to marriage, semble-t-il!

MISSY            Maman!

PRINCE KORCHAGIN            It is a wonderful match. One your parents would be proud of, God rest their souls.

MISSY            Papa!

NEKHLYUDOV            (internal) What in God’s name am I doing here?

PRINCESS MYAGKAYA            The reluctant bridegroom.

PRINCESS KORCHAGIN            On devrait les laisser seul, non?

PRINCE KORCHAGIN            Love birds. Look at them! They dote on each other!

PRINCE MYAGKAYA            (delighted) He’s in for it now!

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