Resurrection: Act 1 Scene 5 – “Look at me”

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 5, The Prison

Nekhlyudov consults a lawyer to appeal Maslova’s sentence, but he realizes that he must do more. He wants to do his part to destroy a society that allows the rich to use the poor in any way they please. He makes a plan to sell all his possessions and divide his land among the peasants who work it. His family and the Korchagins desperately try to talk him out of it, but he renounces his former lifestyle.

Nekhlyudov returns to the prison to have Maslova sign her appeal. He tells her that if the appeal fails he will petition the Emperor. She is drunk. He asks her again to forgive him, and tells her he will marry her. Infuriated, she mocks his “noble” offer. Nekhlyudov hands her a photograph of herself, taken at the May Day festival. She is moved; the photo reminds her of the young woman she once was.

Later, the inspector enters with news that her appeal has been denied, and that she will leave on the next transport for Siberia. Though Nekhlyudov has promised he will not abandon her, Maslova is certain she has seen the last of him.

Libretto

The Inspector exits, leaving them alone with the jailer who brought Maslova into the room. The jailer stays some distance from them.

NEKHLYUDOV                        Do you remember what I said to you last time?

MASLOVA            You said a lot last time. (angry)

NEKHLYUDOV            I came to ask you to forgive me.

MASLOVA            What’s the use of forgiveness? Who needs that?!

NEKHLYUDOV            I do. I’ll atone for my sin…

MASLOVA            What are you talking about?

NEKHLYUDOV            All of this is my fault. I’ll spend everything I have to set you free.

MASLOVA            I don’t understand you. What do you want from me?

NEKHLYUDOV            I have made up my mind to marry you.

MASLOVA            (angrily) I’d rather hang myself.

NEKHLYUDOV            It’s my duty before God to do it.

MASLOVA            What God have you found now?

You should’ve remembered God that night…

NEKHLYUDOV            (realizing that she’s drunk) Calm down.

MASLOVA            Why should I be calm? You think I am drunk? I am drunk, but I know what I’m saying. I’m a convict, a whore, and you are a gentleman and a prince. There’s no need for you to soil yourself by touching me. You go to your princesses; my price is a ten rouble note.

NEKHLYUDOV            I’ve decided not to leave you and I shall do what I’ve said.

I shall not leave you.

MASLOVA            (furious) Go away! You’ve no business here.

You think you’re so fine and so noble.

A prince proposes marriage to a whore…

This has nothing to do with me.

Just as you took pleasure from me in this life,

You want to save yourself in the life to come.

You disgust me with your piety and your fat ugly face!

WOMEN’S WARDER            Shut up!

NEKHLYUDOV            Leave her alone, please.

WOMEN’S WARDER            She can’t behave like that in here.

NEKHLYUDOV            Please wait a little. (the jailer returns to the window)

(to Maslova) Will you please sit down?

Maslova sits again, clasping her hands.

NEKHLYUDOV            I will right this wrong, Katusha.

MASLOVA            I want nothing from you.

(she gets up to leave)

NEKHLYUDOV            Wait! (handing her a photograph)

Do you remember this? May Day at Panovo?

(a pause as she takes the photo and studies it)

I thought you’d like to have it.

MASLOVA            (fighting tears) That girl is dead.

NEKHLYUDOV            Don’t say that, she can’t be dead.

She can’t be…

WOMEN’S WARDER            Time to go.

NEKHLYUDOV            I’ll come again tomorrow.

Think it over.

(she refuses to look at him)

Nekhlyudov exits the prison.

ARIA: “TOO LATE” (MASLOVA)

(She takes the photo, and suddenly sees and feels who she was when she loved  him. The photo brings back her joy, her innocence.)

MASLOVA

Look at me, look at me, look at me!

I am young, beautiful, so full of life.

I loved him, he loved me.

Yes, I know it’s true.

I know it’s true.

What a joy to dance with him.

To speak with him,

To lift my face to him, to lift my arms to him,

To feel life brimming in both of my hands.

If only he could love me again…

I might… I might… I might…

(She laughs out loud and her laughter somehow releases a flood of feeling. The pain she remembers as she remembers his betrayal hits her with renewed force.)

Too late! Too late!

A thousand nights, a thousand men,

A thousand deaths, your face again…

Every step I’ve taken…

Now you return and want forgiveness?

Too late! Too late! There is nothing you can do.

Too late! Too late! You have broken me in two.

The Inspector enters.

PRISON INSPECTOR            Your appeal to the Senate has been denied.

You’ll leave on the next transport to Siberia.

MASLOVA            He’ll never follow me there…

That’s the end…

END ACT ONE

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