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, “Do I love her?”
The prisoners are marching to Siberia through the snow (“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 (“Maslova’s Lullaby”). As Maslova rejoins the line, Nekhlyudov is in despair; he has felt the first stirrings of love for her.
The chorus continues (humming/vocalese) as the marchers surround Kriltsov, Maslova, and Simonson, folding them into the larger group. As they march off stage, the final stanza of the chorus is heart and then fades into the distance.
Lights shift and…
Nekhlyudov is alone on stage.
What am I doing, what am I doing, what am I doing here?
All alone. In the snow.
Three thousand miles from anywhere.
First the trial: a travesty.
Then the prison: bestial.
Now this: beyond anything.
This is the world that we have made,
With our privilege and education.
We’ve made a hell, a hell on earth for our fellow men.
But here is Katusha in this terrible place, suddenly alive.
Where has she found the strength to survive, to make herself anew?
This is what I dreamt of.
This is what I wanted.
I should be happy.
Why, then, why do I feel such despair?
Why does it feel like she’s walking away?
Can it be… Can it possibly be… Do I love her?