Anna and Danilo meet again by chance. What has become of their former passion?
I rallied from the blow,
So here we are today.
A world for you and me
Was never meant to be;
There’s not a lot now left to say.
The past is over,
The rift beyond repair;
The dream we used to share,
The life that might have been.
The second chance
Will never come again.
No reason to recall the days gone by;
Never shall I waste a sigh.
Then we were young and still immature;
Youth is an ill that time will cure.
We were naïve in trusting fate,
But saw the light before too late.
The intoxication of Paris takes over:
Days of springtime, wine and rapture.
As the twirling progresses, the dancing floor spins
To the silken caresses of violins.
On a tide flowing on with the dance.
You’re a-twirl in a world ever thrilling,
Filled with the lilt of romance.
Arm in arm with the girl I adore,
With a smile, with a sigh,
In a spell, you and I
Are alone on a crowded floor.
Amid the glitter, Anna recalls an old folk tale of thwarted love:
Back home we tell a fairy tale,
A story some remember well,
About a phantom forest maid;
Her name was Vilya, so ’tis said.
A nymph known as Vilya
With hair spun of gold.
Beheld by a hunter
That strayed from the field,
Alas! Little wonder
His fate then was sealed.
No longer could the young man hide.
Vale and hill
Echo to his love song still.
Love I would follow through water and fire.
Vilya, O Vilya! I call, I implore,
Come and be mine evermore.
Her hand with a wave
That beckoned the hunter
To come to her cave.
That he wept with delight.
In rapture he kissed
Unaware of his plight.
She vanished leaving empty arms.
Full as the rose in flower,
My love perfumes the day.
It carries me to islands
Where music fills the air,
A land of golden sunshine
Because you’re always there.
That paradise enchanted
Am I to wave goodbye?
The rose so newly planted
Can you allow to die?
O darling! Grant to me
One parting kiss to savor
For all eternity.
There fearlessly we can embrace,
Tasting delicate delights denied.
Joy that no tongue will tell..
Come, open paradise again
With a tender kiss, and then –
In operetta, despite the perils of romance, the mix-ups and misunderstandings, the agonies of uncertainty, you can always be assured of one thing -- a happy ending. The Merry Widow is no exception.
Hearts are beating,
Both repeating, “Love me, too.”
Ev’ry sigh unspoken
Sends a message through,
Tells of two in harmony,
A dream come true.
THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN
The feisty little vixen urges the browbeaten hens to stand up for their rights:
Sisters, sisters! Why let him feed you garbage?
Who does the labor? Who gets the profit?
Stand up to him! Agitate!
Too long you’ve suffered oppression.
Demand freedom now!
Come the revolution, cry
Down with roosters! Down with tyrants!
No more roosters? No more roosters?
Shoving you aside, he gorges on grain,
And only when he has stuffed himself
He offers you a bite.
COCK: (with rising anger)
Don’t be taken in!
Trumpeting rights and equality,
She’s out to destroy the family.
Clearly! Clearly! Clearly!
I refuse to tolerate
I’ll dig a hole and die in it -- Goodbye!
Way back from yesterday --
Sweet time of plenty! --
Spry as bees and birds at play,
You, too, were twenty.
However hard we pray,
Bones ache and teeth decay;
Comes winter, cold and gray;
Lovers grow old and pass by as strangers.
“Trust and follow the path of virtue.”
Never mind! Whoever said it was mistaken.
That lesson I paid for dearly.
To me they entrusted homeless Terynka.
Made her a Christian.
Pastor and pupil, daily we prayed together.
Those warm, glowing eyes!
Deep as the sea itself.
Down in that darkness lurked
Devils of every known variety.
Pregnant, though of course unmarried --
She would not or could not say.
Rumor was rampant, all pointed in my direction.
I had to face an angry mob
Shouting obscenities --
She allowed it to happen.
“Memnestho aner agathos einai.”
I quote from Xenophon,
I believe verbatim.
Much impressed by the handsome fox, the vixen tells him her story:
Family member, nurtured and educated.
I got to know -- people!
And by and large felt ashamed of them.
Pitiful! True, the Forester was kind and friendly,
And often affectionate.
But I found his wife impossible!
And jealous to the max.
She scolded him incessantly.
Even when not around,
She’d call in her children
To pester and pick on me.
Once when I bravely tried to fight back,
She shouted: “Just wait! Some day I’ll skin you,
Turn you into a nice fur muff.!”
Once half dead with hunger,
Both with stick in hand came running,
Cursing and swearing.
Unbowed, I held my ground,
I cried: “Why, why be so stingy?
You have more than enough,
And I, nothing at all.
I’m too proud for begging;
Strike! Punish! Strike! Punish!
War was on! Action followed.
The coast was clear. I ran to the forest,
Dank and dark as the deep dead of night,
Yet there I slept serenely.
Equally charmed, the fox assures the vixen of his honorable intentions:
I am unlike other young foxes.
For me it is not the body but the soul,
Your soul that I adore.
Take my word:
Who would charm, then abandon you,
My love is true, forever and ever.
Why this hesitation?
Trust me! Trust me!
Weep only tears of happiness.
VIXEN: Yes! Yes!
The little foxcubs that eventually follow play a singing game:
Little fox, oh guard your sack
From the badger at your back.
Little fox from Africa
Carries pepper, paprika.
Little fox, watch out! Beware
Of the hedgehog and the hare.
The Forester returns to his beloved forest, some years later:
Armies of mushrooms!
Wearing hats chestnut colored,
Trim as country girls.
Is it real or am I dreaming?
As when we first came exploring together,
She so impertinent, and I so in love!
We, too, went mushroom gathering,
Often back with empty hands,
Too much in love to notice;
Coming back instead
With an overflow of treasured kisses.
Wedding bells that day were ringing!
We were young, and wedding bells were ringing!
He sits down, his gun resting on his knees.
These pesky flies! Without them, I’d be dozing in no time.
Here at dusk when the forest starts coming alive.
A forest forever youthful,
Each round of the sun a new beginning.
Forest imps and fairies
Of glorious revels and rapture.
Starting all over, back to undertake new miracles,
That turn into blossoms:
Honeysuckle, phlox and marigold.
Children and parents, other folk passing by,
Will stop to gaze in awe and wonder,
And may recognize
The Coffee Cantata* JANACEK
The Cunning Little Vixen
The Daughter of Madame Angot
Doctor Miracle* The Merry Widow
CHABRIER Cavalleria Rusticana*
An Education Incomplete*
CIMAROSA Romeo and Juliet
The Secret Marriage
DONIZETTI Bastien and Bastienne*
Anne Boleyn Cosi fan Tutte
Betly* Don Giovanni
The Daughter of the Regiment The Magic Flute
Don Pasquale The Marriage of Figaro
The Elixir of Love Yanked from the Harem
Lucia di Lammermoor MUSSORGSKY
Lucrezia Borgia Marriage Russian Style*
Mary Stuart NICOLAI
Robert Devereux The Merry Wives of Windsor
The Tutor in a Tangle
(L’Ajo nell’ Imbarazzo) OFFENBACH
von FLOTOW Le Belle Helene
The Bridge of Sighs
GOUNOD The Cat Turned into a Woman*
The Doctor in Spite of Himself The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein
Romeo and Juliet Marriage by Lantern*
OFFENBACH (cont.) VERDI
The New Woman (Genevieve) Ernani
Orpheus in the Underworld Falstaff
The Princess of Trebizonde Luisa Miller
The Tales of Hoffmann Macbeth
La Vie Parisienne The Marauders
The Maid Promoted Stiffelio
(La Serva Padrona) La Traviata
La Boheme No Love Allowed
Madame Butterfly (Das Liebesverbot)
La Rondine von WEBER
Tosca Abu Hassan*
The Barber of Seville
La Cenerentola MONIUSZKO
Count Ory Halka
The Italian Girl in Algiers The Haunted Manor
SCHUBERT FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES
The Wedding Roast (Trio, Op. 104) Alice in Operaland
SMETANA The Escape
The Bartered Bride A Mini Magic flute
The Two Widows
The Soldier’s Tale
My Fair Galatea*
The Queen of Spades