Resurrection: Act 2 Scene 1, Maslova’s Lullaby

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 2 Scene 1, Maslova’s Lullaby

The prisoners are marching to Siberia through the snow (see “Siberian March”). Nekhlyudov carries a petition to the Emperor which Maslova must sign. He is shocked by the brutal treatment of the prisoners, especially when he learns the nature of some of their crimes. Maslova is overjoyed to see him, and to his amazement he sees that she has changed. The old Maslova is being reborn. She introduces him to Peter Simonson, a schoolmaster convicted for teaching “subversive” literature. Their conversation is interrupted when an officer tries to take a five-year-old girl out of her sick father’s arms in order to chain his hands. The prisoner, Kriltsov, will not let the girl go. When Simonson intervenes, the officer promises to have him flogged. Nekhlyudov gives the officers a bribe and Maslova assists the father and child.

Libretto

ACT TWO  SCENE ONE – Maslova’s Lullaby

Nekhlyudov, accompanied by a guard is waiting at a checkpoint crossing as the prisoners arrive.

NEKHLYUDOV                      I must see prisoner Maslova.

GUARD                                   Interviews are not allowed.

NEKHLYUDOV                      There she is…

GUARD                                   You’ve come all this way for nothing.

NEKHLYUDOV                      I have a petition for the Emperor that must be signed.

GUARD                                   Give it to me!

NEKHLYUDOV                      I must see the prisoner myself!

GUARD                                   Not here.

NEKHLYUDOV                      I have permission from the Governor.

(taking a slip of paper and a bank note from his pocket book)

GUARD                                   (looking at the permission, which hides a bribe inside it)

Be quick about it.

Nekhlyudov steps up to the line of prisoners and immediately attracts their attention. Maslova hurriedly approaches him. Nekhlyudov and Maslova step outside the convoy as the prisoners continue to march past. Maslova is stunned to see him.

MASLOVA                              I didn’t think I’d see you again.

NEKHLYUDOV                      I told you I’d follow you.

MASLOVA                              I thought after my appeal was denied…

NEKHLYUDOV                      We’ll petition the Emperor directly. Your case… our case…

MASLOVA                              I can’t believe you’ve come.

NEKHLYUDOV                      Will you sign the petition?

MASLOVA                              Yes, of course. (She signs the document, hands it back to him)

Forgive me Dmitry, for what I said last time.

NEKHLYUDOV                      It’s not for me to forgive.

MASLOVA                              I thought you’d be glad to get rid of me.

NEKHLYUDOV                      I haven’t changed, Katusha. I meant what I said.

MASLOVA                              It means so much to me to see you here.

NEKHLYUDOV                      (internal) I never thought I’d hear that sweetness in her voice again.

Did you get the things I sent you?

MASLOVA                              Yes, thank you.

NEKHLYUDOV                      Is there anything else you want… or need?

MASLOVA                              Nothing, thank you.

NEKHLYUDOV                      Are you all right?

MASLOVA                              I’m fine. Marching has made me strong.

And I’ve met some good people here.

NEKHLYUDOV                      Good people here?

MASLOVA                              Yes, good and bad, just as anywhere.

NEKHLYUDOV                      But they’re criminals. They’re blackmailers, robbers, rapists, terrorists, murderers.

MASLOVA                              But some are here for petty crimes. For nothing! And some are in prison for what they believe.

NEKHLYUDOV                      I worry about you constantly.

MASLOVA                              They’ve been good to me.

They’ve treated me better than anyone has in years.

Stay with me till I join up with my group.

NEKHLYUDOV                      I’ll see you again when you get to Yakhutsk.

MASLOVA                              Why? Are you coming?

NEKHLYUDOV                      I’m coming by the next train.

OLD WOMAN                        (as she walks by)

Is it true, sir, 12 convicts have been killed?

NEKHLYUDOV                      I’ve seen 2 myself.

OLD WOMAN                        They say they’ve killed 12 on this march. They’ll get away with it. Murderers!

NEKHLYUDOV                      Have none of the women fallen ill?

YOUNG WOMEN                   Women are stronger… only one of them’s in labor. There she goes again…

(she points to the cart as the groans recommence)

WOMAN IN LABOR               Oh, oh, oh! O God! Oh, oh! O God!

MASLOVA                              You ask if we want anything…couldn’t she be left behind? She’s suffering. You could arrange it.

NEKHLYUDOV                      Yes, I will.

(The march continues. The Chorus is heard again)

MASLOVA                              Here’s my group.

Do you have to go?

NEKHLYUDOV                      I’ll walk with you for awhile.

As long as the guards will allow it…

MASLOVA                              (She sees Simonson.)

This is Peter Simonson. He’s a political prisoner.

(to Simonson) This is Prince Nekhlyudov.

NEKHLYUDOV                      Terrorist?

PETER                                    Schoolmaster!

NEKHLYUDOV                      Then why?

PETER                                    I taught literature: Ibsen, Zola, Whitman, Wilde.

NEKHLYUDOV                      I don’t understand…

PETER                                    All subversives.

They tell us every human being is

Magnificent, to be loved.

What a revolution that would be.

They are interrupted by the following exchange.

Among the politicals we see Kriltsov, struggling to hold his daughter, Maria, in his arms. He is seriously ill, stumbling, coughing, and shaking. An officer attempts to take Maria.

OFFICER                                 Give me that girl.

Your hands must be chained.

KRILTSOV                              No! I can’t carry her if my hands are chained.

OFFICER                                 Give her to me. Now.

KRILTSOV                              I refuse.

The officer strikes him in the face. Kriltsov wipes the blood from his face with one hand while holding the now sobbing Maria with the other.

KRILTSOV                              I’ve carried my child all the way from St. Petersburg. You’ll make it impossible for me.

OFFICER                                 Rules are rules.

Put her down. You must be chained.

(The bravest of the prisoners speaks out)

WOMAN                                 He’s carried her all the way from Tomsk without chains.

MASLOVA                              She’s a child, not a puppy.

PETER                                    (confronting the officer) That’s not the law.

OFFICER                                 (furious) Who’s that’s?! I’ll teach you the law.

Who spokee? You? You?!

PETER                                    Yes, I spoke out, because…

But before he can finish speaking the officer hits him in the face with both hands.

OFFICER                                 Mutiny? I’ll show you what mutiny means. I’ll have you shot like dogs. I’ll get a medal for it.

(to the guard) Take the girl.

PETER                                    (his temper mounting)

This is inhuman.

OFFICER                                 What did you say?!

PETER                                    You heard me!

Simultaneously, Nekhlyudov steps forward. He speaks softly to the officer, empties his purse, hands him money.

OFFICER                                 (to Simonson) You’ll be flogged for this.

I won’t forget it.

Kriltsov collapses to the ground. Maria goes to him, stroking his head and face. The others realize he is near death, struggling for breath. There is a hush.

MARIA                                    (whispering) Papa, papa…

(Maslova starts to sing a quiet lullaby/folk song. All becomes quiet.)

ARIA: LULLABY

MASLOVA

O that I were where I would be,

Then would I be where I am not,

But where I am there I must be,

And where I would be I cannot, I cannot…

O lullaby, lullaby…

PETER                                    Can you make room for him?

Simonson lifts Kriltsov onto the cart. Others make room. Simonson takes off his coat and covers Kriltsov.

OFFICER                                 Move on…

  (to Nekhlyudov)

You! Your time is up!

NEKHLYUDOV                      (reluctantly leaving Maslova) I’ll see you again in Yakhutsk.

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