Chamber opera in one act
Libretto in English and French.
From a play and poems by Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949)
English translation by William Archer (1908), adapted by the composer
circa 20″ in duration
A young girl commits suicide, and the the villagers agonize over how to tell her family.
Three characters agonize in a garden of a household where death will soon make its presence known. They are aware of the body of a young girl who has committed suicide in the village river, and whose body is presently being borne back to her house and family by the villagers. Her family can be seen through the windows of their house, undisturbed, and unaware of the horrific news of the fate of their oldest daughter.
An old garden planted with cottonwoods. At the back, a simple house, with three of the ground floor windows lighted up. Through them a family is distinctively visible, gathered for the evening around the lamp. The Father is seated at the fireplace. The Mother, resting one elbow on the table, is gazing into vacancy. The two young girls, dressed in white, sit with their books, basking in the tranquility of the room. When one of them rises, walks, or makes a gesture, the movements appear grave, slow, apart, as the distance, the light, and the transparent film of the window panes makes them appear to be ghosts.
Three singing roles
Martha: Mezzo Soprano
A family of life-size marionettes: Father, Mother, two young girls (twins)
Piano & string orchestra
Piano/vocal score available
This score is now available through Firehead Editions.