The Dracula Diary

 

THE DRACULA DIARY

An Opera Macabre
Music by Robert Moran
Libretto by James Skofield

The opera was commissioned by BMG/RCA for
6 singers and 6 instruments; the recording was released
in October 1994 after its world premiere at
Houston Grand Opera, March 18, 1994

.
Although the numerous characters were taken by the six singers, a further production can have a much greater variety of singers and parts.

Monk/The Tenor/Menippus…………………………………………………………………..tenor
The Impresario………………………………………………………………………………….baritone
The Confessor/Singing Master/Doctor/Apparition…………………………bass-baritone
Angela/Nemesis…………………………………………………………………………………soprano
The Mother Superior/Female Courtier/Maid/Zorina/Party Guests…mezzo soprano
Male Courtier/Party Guest………………………………………………………….bass- baritone

Chamber Ensemble:
flute/piccolo,  violin/viola, percussion,
three keyboard synthesizers

The duration of the work is approximately 80 minutes.

************************************

In preparation:

THE DRACULA DIARY
for orchestra

3 flutes (doubling on 3 piccolos), 2 oboes (one doubling on
English horn), 2 clarinets, 1 bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, 1 contrabassoon,
3 trumpets (in C), 4 horns, 2 trombones, l bass trombone, tuba
1 keyboard synthesizer, harp, strings

Percussion l:  3 timpani, 3 timbales, glass wind chimes
Percussion 2:  vibraphone, bass drum, large tam, triangle,
snare drum, suspended car coil (hit with hammer)
Percussion 3:  2 timpani, marimbaphone, 3 wood blocks, bowed auto-harp
(with cello bow),  3 suspended cymbals

_______________________________________________

Libretto:

All inquiries for performance rights should be addressed to the composer, Robert Moran, Box 54202, Philadelphia, PA 19105, USA

 

Prologue

(As the curtain rises, we see the side chapel of an enormous baroque cathedral.  To one side, an ornate confessional; to the other, a life-sized statue of the Blessed Virgin on a small pedestal.  A font of holy water nearby.  Candles smoke and gutter on tall candelabra.  We sense the vastness of the space from distant sounds….footfalls, coughs, whispered prayers, the rustling of clothes as people kneel in worship.  It is November 30, 1705…the Feast of St. Andrew.  From the depths of the cathedral we hear a monk chanting from a requiem mass.)

 

MONK:

 

Domine Jesu Christe,

Rex gloriae,

libera animas omnium fidelium defunctorum

de poenis inferni

et de profundo lacu;

libera eas de ore leonis,

ne absorbeat eas tartarus,

ne cadant in obscurum…..

 

(Halfway through the monk’s chant, the Impresario enters the chapel.  A handsome man, attired in the height of baroque splendor, he appears ill, exhausted, ravaged….obviously tormented, perhaps insane.  He kneels briefly in prayer before the statue of the Blessed Virgin.  His body convulses.  He stumbles to the confessional and kneels.)

 

IMPRESARIO

 

Bless me Father, for I have sinned.

O, greatly, greatly have I sinned.

 

CONFESSOR

 

It is well that you’ve come, my child.

It is well that you’ve come.

God’s mercy is abundant.

Tell me, my child,

the length of time

since last you made confession?

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

A long time, Father.

 

 

CONFESSOR

 

A month, perhaps?

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

Too many months.

 

 

CONFESSOR

 

A year, perhaps?

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

Too many years.

 

 

CONFESSOR

 

I see.  A soul enmeshed in satan’s toils.  Well, tel thy sins and tell them all;  I warn you:  keep none back.

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

Father, I’ll confess them all, for madness grips my soul.

By night, by day, it tortures me and I can find no peace. I, who desired love have sired hate.  I, who stride amidst the wealth and glory of the world, I, whose merest wave of hand commands the gods of song, can conjure no release from all my inner hells.  My sins are lust, and greed, and pride, Envy, and jealousy, and rage;  Vaulting ambition, cold disdain; Decption, murder….and, at the foremost gate of hell, that greatest sin, Despair…..

 

(As the Impresario has sung, the Confessional and the other scenic elements of the cathedral have slid slowly away.  The Impresario is left kneeling, spotlit, with darkness all around him.)

 

SCENE ONE

“The Convent”

 

IMPRESARIO

 

Father, it was not always so; my early life was humble.  A ‘vagabondo’ in my youth, I roamed Calabrian hills, a sturdy knave who managed well a troupe of nimble players: Acrobats; jugglers; dancing bears; the knockabout commedia. But even then, my eyes were set on brighter stages, larger sights.  I prayed that God might elevate me to a vaster realm.  One night, at mass, inside a convent, I thought my prayer answered.

 

(Behind the Impresario, the lights come up to releave Angela and the Mother Superior who stand, facing one another)

 

IMPRESARIO

 

It was a high, soprano voice,

 

 

ANGELA

 

Credo in unum Deum,

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

untrained, but like a lark

 

 

MOTHER SUPERIOR

 

Patrem omnipotentem,

 

 

ANGELA

 

factorem coeli et terrae,

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

It fell like water on my soul,

 

 

ANGELA and MOTHER SUPERIOR

 

visibilium omnium et invisibilium.

 

IMPRESARIO

 

and my ambitions flowered.  a voice of this rare purity would surely garner fame….And I, who proffered such a voice, must therby flourish, too.  All Europe waited on great voices in breathless adoration.  Venice, Vienna, Dresden, Rome, the courts of every nation flung wide their doors to opera stars; the world was theirs to claim.

 

 

ANGELA

 

Et in unum Dominum

Jesum Christum,

Filium Dei unigenitum,

et ex Patre natum ante omnia saecula.

Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine,

Deum verum de Deo vero…..

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

Her voice shone like a rouch-cut jewel; a jewel that waits upon a master’s hand to cut and shape, to polish well, to unlock every facet, bring lustre to its fire, and scatter all its brilliance on the world.

 

(The Impresario approaches Angela and the Mother Superior)

 

MOTHER SUPERIOR

 

Signore, as you can see this peasant girl is yet unformed, but modest.

A good girl, as you can see, untroubled, chaste, a worker in our convent’s herbal garden.   Ready to serve the dictates of our Lord if she be called.  But how can such a child as yet untested, serve the needs of you?   So many of our sisters have been dying; they waste away, Signore…..waste away….But this girl tends them as a mother would.  Ah, no, I will not part with her, the flower of our convent!

A girl destined for piety, for faith, for purity, and prayer, for holy orders, look, Signore!  Look, and…..

 

(The Impresario drops a heavy pouch of money into the Mother Superior’s hand)

 

MOTHER SUPERIOR

 

God be praised!  A thousand blessings be upon your head.

 

 

(The Mother Superior exists)

 

IMPRESARIO

 

Indeed, my girl, you’re wonderous fair.  Come, tell me what they call you.

 

 

ANGELA

 

What would you call me, Signore?

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

The angels in the firmament sing not as sweet as you.  So I would call you Angela….

 

 

ANGELA

 

Then Angela will do.  What would you have of me?

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

Your voice and your devotion, Angela.  You shall become the queen of song and reign upon a stage, an aria your diadem, an opera your realm.  I’ll lay all Europe at your feet, and I’ll stay at your side.

 

 

ANGELA

 

Then I’ll not fear, keep faith in song, and….feast upon the world.

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

You’ll not fear, keep faith in song, and….we’ll feast upon the world.

 

(The Impresario frees Angela’s hair from her kerchief.  Angela exits.  We hear the sound of violent thunderclaps, followed by rain.  The Impresario sings.)

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

Father, if only I had left the girl back in that convent.  I could not know that lust would creep into my heart.  I could not feel ambition gnaw like cancer at my soul.  Pride was my servant, not my master, and I was young and hungry.

 

(As the sound of the rainstorm subsides, we hear the sound of a harpsichord.  The Impresario walks upstage as the lights go on to reveal Angela and the Singing Master.)

 

 

SCENE TWO

 

“The Singing Lesson”

 

SINGING MASTER

 

Ancora!  Attenzione!  Please!   We take it from the top!

 

 

(Angela sings, ornamenting her notes)

 

ANGELA

 

Ah, ah….ah…..

 

 

SINGING MASTER

 

Legato, mia cara.  Let it float….float….

 

 

ANGELA

 

Ah…ah….ah…..

 

 

SINGING MASTER

 

No!  No!  Much slower, and much smoother!

 

 

ANGELA

 

Ahhh, ahh…..

 

 

SINGING MASTER

 

Think of a pebble; think of water; think of the clearest bell…Yes! A bell……

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 
Signore!  Please!  Please!

 

 

SINGING MASTER

 

Perhaps Madama’s tired…would she rest?

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

Rehearse her!  Waste no time!  In three scant months, Madama makes her debut!   (to Angela)  You will not tire, Angela!  You must not!

 

 

ANGELA  (to the Singing Master)

 

Let us continue.

 

 

SINGING MASTER

 

Let us continue.  The throat must be completely open.  Come!  Place your hand upon my throat and I shall sing for you.

 

(Angela does so)

 

Ahh, Madama!  (He pulls her hand away from his throat)    Not so tightly!  Now, try again.

 

ANGELA

 

Ahhh….ahhhhh…ah…..

 

 

SINGING MASTER

 

Bene!  When you leave here tonight, Madama, see the moon.  So big and round must be your tone; so clear and full of color.

 

 

ANGELA

 

Ahhhh!

 

 

SINGING MASTER, (fumbling in his jacket)

 

See!  Here I have….

 

 

ANGELA

 

Ahhhh!

 

 

SINGING MASTER

 

…a small device….to show you what I mean….

 

(The Singing Master holds a small hand mirror up to angela.  she gives a small cry; the mirror slips from her fingers and falls, shattering)

 

ANGELA

 

Ah!!

 

 

SINGING MASTER

 

Madama!  Oh!

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

But she is….

 

 

SINGING MASTER

 

tired…..

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

She is young….

 

 

SINGING MASTER

 

….wilful!

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

tired…tomorrow…surely

 

 

SINGING MASTER

 

Perhaps…..tomorrow…surely …..another day….

 

 

ANGELA

 

hunger….fatigue….desire….Signore!….cherish me….

 

 

IMPRESARIO  (to Angela)

 

Mio tesoro, come; I’ll take you home…..

 

(Angela reaches up and touches his face)

 

(The lights fade.  In the blackout that descends, we hear a shimmering ‘wall of sound’…the distant howling of wolves…wind…the sound of wild horses galloping nearer and nearer…and uneasy, hanting aural landscape.  This “wall of sound” crescendos into…..)

 

 

SCENE THREE

 

“The Nightmare”

 

(Midnight.  The Impresario, on his bed, awakens with a shout)

 

IMPRESARIO

 

Jesu Maria!

Angela….Angela!…

No…alone.  O, what a hideous dream it was! I wandered in a garden.  A golden dusk…the sound of doves…and water…in a fountain.  Flowers of every form and shape in colors rich and rare:  ochre and umber; orange; mauve; carmine and darkest rose.  But when I bent down to the flowers, each blossom dripped with blood.  A snake lay under every leaf;  the fountain brimmed with blood.  All of the doves had eagle’s claws and cruel, slashing beaks.  And through this evil mockery, you sauntered, unaware.  “Come, o my darling,”  you invited, “come and take your ease”!  And I work screaming…all alone, and nowhere are you seen.  Angela, I would defend you from all evil dreams!  Angela….Angela….

 

(Angela emerges from the darkness)

 

Angela!….you ……awake?

 

ANGELA

 

I could not sleep, Signore, for the moon keeps calling to me from the window sill…..Her light is rich and full; a ……hunting moon….a…hunting moon…..(She smiles)  You think me lunatic?

 

 

IMPRESARIO   (tenderly)

 

Ah, no, not I, my nightingale.  But I am grown so tired…and must sleep….

 

 

ANGELA  (also tenderly)   Then I will soothe your…pain, Signore and gentle sleep will come.

(As she settles to her task, the lights fade and the ‘wall of sound” swells up, now accompanied by the sound of hundreds of ticking clocks.)

 

 

SCENE FOUR

“The Rehearsal”

 

(A rehearsal hall.  Upstage, stagehands move scenic elements about or relax at cards.  Downstage, two elaborately coiffed and dressed courtiers gossip and absorb the goings-on.)

 

MALE COURTIER

 

They say she bathes in milk, they say…..

 

 

FEMALE COURTIER

 

She bathes in milk and honey…milk…honey….

 

 

MALE COURTIER

 

..in mil and honey and in wine!

 

 

FEMALE COURTIER

 

She never lacks for money!

 

 

MALE COURTIER

 

The count is courting her, they say….a duke?….a king!

 

 

FEMALE COURTIER

 

A count is courting her, they say…they say an earl….

 

 

BOTH

 

A king!    (wickedly)  A cardinal in Avignon has given her his ring!

 

 

MALE COURTIER

 

Delirious crowds in Rome pulled her carriage through the city!

 

 

FEMALE COURTIER

 

Her rivals all retire out of misery and self-pity.

 

 

MALE COURTIER

 

The angels up in heaven still their choirs just to hear, and God Himself upon His…..

 

 

FEMALE COURTIER

 

Be quiet!

 

 

BOTH

 

She is here!

 

(Angela, the Impresario and the Tenor come onstage.  Angela and the Tenor in rehearsal clothes.  Angela takes he place onstage; the Tenor exists to await his cue.  the Impresario repairs to a small table downstage.  He nods to the orchestra and the music for the rehearsal commences.)

 

(Scene: a wild and rocky place.  NEMESIS/ANGELA on stage, veiled. MENIPPUS/TENOR enters)

 

NEMESIS

 

Dove fuggi, o giovine leggero?

 

 

MENIPPUS

 

Chi mi trattiene in quest’abbandonato loco?

 

 

NEMESIS

 

I’mi son’un’che faccio onore alla verita.

 

 

MENIPUSS

 

(Ed io falso!)  Vien, svelati!

 

(NEMESIS begins to unveil but, alas, her veil catches on a scenic element.  She gestures helplessly.)

 

ANGELA

 

Maestro, please?

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

Assist Madama.

 

(He gestures at a couple of stagehands who rush to aid Angela…as does the Tenor.  They free the veil and the Impresario raps for attention)

 

IMPRESARIO

 

Silenzio!    (the rehearsal music stops)

Begin the aria again.    (The music recommences)

 

 

MENIPPUS

 

Vien, svelati!

 

 

NEMESIS   (unveiling for her aria)

Ecco, o bel giovine d’aspetto grazioso

la tua Nemesi son’ venuta per vendicar!

Or la giustizia furibonda il tuo visaggio perfido

ed il tuo amoreggiare vano ispira!

Di noi ciascun la terra e madre, essa

giusta e nutritiva a noi tutti;

or al ginocchio maternale il vitto prenderai,

poicche da posto questo non muoverai ne chiamerai!

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

In truth, I need assistance, too.   Fatigue now takes its toll.  The tour progresses in triumph; this premiere will surely make our name….but I feel drained and ill at ease.

 

 

MALE COURTIER

 

She is divine!  Divine!…..heavenly…..

 

 

FEMALE COURTIER

 

Celestial!  Heavenly….

 

 

MALE COURTIER  (to Female Courtier)

 

Who is the tenor?

 

 

IMPRESARIO  (to himself)

 

I do not trust this tenor.  Admittedly, the voice is good, and blends well with my Angela’s.  I hired him…but I mistrust his ways.  I do not like the way he stares at Angela….he, too, is hungry.

 

 

FEMALE COURTIER  (whispering, giggling, to her companion)

 

Oh! la….so divine….celestial.

 

 

(Nemesis turns Menippus into a myrtle tree)

 

 

NEMESIS and MENIPPUS

 

Mai piu dal giusto destino evitar,

 

 

NEMESIS

 

Rendetegli, o Numi, i suoi Meritar.

 

 

MENIPPUS

 

 

Rendetemi, O Numi, i miei Meritar

 

 

IMPRESARIO   (interrupting)   Brava!

 

 

COURTIERS  (applauding wildly)   Brava, Bravissima!

 

(They shower angela with flowers)

 

 

MALE COURTIER

 

You are a goddess!

 

 

ANGELA

 

My friends, you are too kind, too generous.  Perhaps you would do me the honor of taking some refreshment in my rooms?

 

 

FEMALE COURTIER

 

The honor would be ours!

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

No!  (hastily, excusing his rudeness)   Your Graces must excuse her.  Madama needs her rest.  The strain before the performance;….this premiere;  Your Graces understand….

 

 

COURTIERS

 

Of course, Signore.

 

 

MALE COURTIER

 

Of course.

 

 

BOTH COURTIERS

 

Madama.

 

(The male Courtier makes a polite bow.  The female courtier curtsies.  They leave reluctantly.   Angela is angry.  She snatches up her flowers and starts to leave.  The Impresario stops her.  She looks at him and he lets her go.  The Tenor starts to follow her.  The Impresario stops him.  The lights fade…..)

 

 

SCENE FIVE

“The Doctor/The Dressing Room”

 

(The scene is split between a Doctor’s office and Angela’s dressing room.  It begins in the Doctor’s office.  The Impresario, seated, is being bled by leeches the Doctor is attachng to his arm.)

 

DOCTOR  (placing the leeches)

 

These leeches will invigorate the blood and leave the Maestro more sanguine, but, Signore, I assure you, this fatigue is not uncommon in an active man.  And such a schedule as you keep would render anybody tired.

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

It’s true…I travel much….I lack for sleep…and when I do, my dreams are poisonous.

 

 

(Lights up, dimly, on Angela’s dressing room.   She enters, in costume, with the Tenor.  Applause is heard iin the background.)

 

 

TENOR

 

Diva, you astounded me tonight.  You astounded them!  Listen to the applause!

 

 

ANGELA

 

Thank you, my friend.  They applaud you as well….

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

If i could just rest…..

 

 

TENOR

 

The galleries call for you.  They scream for you!

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

If only I could truly dream….

 

 

ANGELA

 

I will not disappoint them.  (She exits.  The applause surges offstage.)

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

The labor is incessant….

 
DOCTOR  (mixing a potion)   I would advise a rest…a spa…a cure…Yes!  …..a spa.

 

 

MAID (bustling into the dressing room with flowers)  More presents…flowers…billets-doux……

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

I dare not stop.  Success if a chimera…evanescent.  To bring my company to where it is I’ve had to scheme, to sweat, to plot; often to lie. And now, with this premiere…..

 

 

DOCTOR

 

The body will break down beneath such labor!

 

 

MAID  (to Angela, who re-enters)

 

Madama!  Such a triumph!

 

 

ANGELA

 

But I am faint…and hungry.  Bar the door; see nobody disturbs us.

 

 

MAID

 

Yes, Madam.    (She exits)

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

To whom might I entrust my company?  The opera world is jealous of our fame; each impresario awaits with knives.  They’d steal Angela if they had the chance and I should lose the flower of my heart…..

 

 

TENOR  (intimate…insinuating)  Diva…..you make me bold…so dusky, here, so shadowed…..

 

 

DOCTOR  (decanting his potion into a bottle)  This tonic will encourage…..

 

 

TENOR

 

You are a star….and I am but a novice….

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

….my evening star…..

 

 

TENOR

 

…..but your enchantments stir me, your dark wiles.

 

 

DOCTOR

 

….give strength….enliven….

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

…..pale…luminous….

 

 

 

TENOR

 

Admit me to your secrets; enfold me in your art; teach me your vocal sorcery; I offer you my heart.

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

Doctor, I love her.  I would keep her safe.  Safe from all calamities and loss.  Ill luck trainls us…but,  it’s kept at bay.  Murders have been uncovered; theaters burn.  Plauge struck Verona only days ago….and we escaped intact.  How do I shelter her?  How keep her safe?  I love her, I would keep her safe.  How do I shelter her?  How to keep her safe?   Safe from all loss?

 

 

ANGELA  (to Tenor, ravenous, but teasing)  You do not know….you do not know what you are saying; you cannot know what I desire.  Music….music is but one passion, little friend; some passions are less pretty.  Would you desire those as well?   Do you seek fame and all attending on it?  And at what price?  Think well!   I cannot wait….

 

 

DOCTOR  (removing the leeches from the Impresario’s arm)  Come!

Let me remove these.

 

 

TENOR

 

Come!  Remove my doubts…

 

 

ANGELA

 

Come!   The hour grows late.

 

 

DOCTOR

 

Ha!  You have think blood!

 

(The Tenor shrieks once behind the screen.  The lights face on the Doctor’s office.  We hear the beating of a heart mixed with low growling, as of animals feeding.  Simultaneously, there comes a knocking on Angela’s dressing room door.)

 

MAID  (entering)  Madama!  Here’s a knocking!  (calling through door) Madama is at rest!  She will not see…..

 

 

IMPRESARIO  (off)

 

Open the door!

 

 

MAID

 

Madama!  It is he!

 

 

ANGELA  (sluggish, as though drugged)

 

Leave …..us….alone…..

 

 

MAID

 

Madama is at rest.  The strain of perform…..

 
IMPRESARIO     (off)

 

Open the door at once!  I’ll not be barred, by God!

 

 

ANGELA  (coming from behind the screen, with the Tenor)

 

Admit him.

 

 

(The Maid opens the door and the IMpresario bursts in with a bright lantern.  Angela, the Maid, and the Tenor all cringe and sheld themselves from the bright light.)

 

 

IMPRESARIO  (coldly, furious)

 

Ecco!  You will see me whenever I so choose.  I would not interrupt your tryst, but I must speak with you  (to Tenor and Maid)   Leave us! I will attend to you another time.    (The Tenor and Maid exit.)

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

I warn you aginst too great a friendship with that one!  He has a pretty voice, a pleasing form, but he is ruthless, cunning, cold.  His hunger is ambition; his appetite is huge.

 

 

ANGELA

 

What?  Should I follow your example?  Bribes, lies and claques?  You dare to speak of standards?

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

Angela…..A greater good has come of them.  Look where you are today. Fame and renown; glory, honors……If only I were not ill….

 

 

ANGELA

 

You have my sympathy, my loyalty, my voice.  What more could you desire?

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

Your heart, Angela….your soul.

 

 

ANGELA

 

What pretty words!  Heart and soul!  But I have none to give.

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

You lie!  Think back, think back to where you came from; think of the early days …Would you not let me….

 

 

ANGELA

 

….stroke my hair….

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

Kiss your ivory neck…Think of thos emoonlit nights in Rome, the scent of pines and smoke…

 

 

ANGELA

 

Marble in moonlight, nightingales, the pulsing of your heart…. (she turns away)  But that was then and this is now and I am not the same…….

 

 

IMPRESARIO  (pleading)

 

Angela, let me take you back; I want you for myself.

 

 

ANGELA

 

What could you do should I refuse?  You dare not let me go.  Without me, you are nothing!

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

Do not cause me pain.  Do not make me threaten you…..Not this pain! I want you for myself.

 

 

ANGELA

 

I would not cause you pain…. I would not cause….But  this is madness! I am free!  Free to stay….or go!   I am free!

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

Free to stay, but not to go.  Free to…..love me…..as I love you…..

 

(He places his hands on her shoulders.  She twists away.  The lights fade as the “wall of sound’ swells up, now mixed with the sound of crickets, cicadas, and other night noises.)

 

 

SCENE SIX

“The Gypsy”

 

(Night.  A gypsy camp. Zorina, a gypsy sorceress, sings at her campfire.)

 

ZORINA

 

Mother Night is dark and old: dark her hands; dark her hair, set with a brillion stars.   At her withered dugs, she suckles children dark as she.  Owl child, wolf child, bear child, and other darker children.  Who are the ones who walk by night?  Robber, madman, thug, and brute.  Ghost, beast, ghoul and haunt; all belong to night.  Mothers, call your children home, Night has come again.
(The Impresario enters)

 

Who comes upon me like a thief?  Step forwarf!  Show yourself!

 

(The Impresario steps into the firelight)

 

Another child of the night!  (She makes a warding gesture)

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

Wise woman, I have come….

 

 

ZORINA

 

Do not explain!  (She walks around him, examining him)

Evil surrounds you like a net.  Poor animal!  What hunts you?

 

(She places her palm against the Impresario’s forehead)

 

How you burn!

Lupi manari…..nosferatu….

the names of hunting beasts.  You are their prey.

 

(Zorina fumbles under her skirts and pulls out a small crucifix)

 

 

ZORINA  (holding the crucifix up to the Impresario)

 

Kiss it!

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

Old mother, I…..

 

 

ZORINA  (cackling)

 

Love, is it?  Love, poor child?  Beware of love!  Love is just a bait in murder’s trap; you haven’t time for love.  (She pulls out an old, black leather book)   Long have I kept this against the day when it would prove of use.  A book of black and subtle secrets; a diary of sin.  You have the loan of it until the next full moon.  Use it to save yourself.

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

The book feels strangely heavy.

 

 

ZORINA

 

The man who wrote it killed for pleasure:  Vlad Tepes, Count Dracul.

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

How came you by this….by this diary?

 

 

ZORINA

 

My granddam boldly cut it from the black Count’s dying hand; the witches of my coven have kept it guarded, safe…..

From hand to hand, throughout the years, this book has made its way, advising, warning, compelling….sometimes….betraying…a friend to those of honest heart; a bane to every other.  Study it only to protect yourself.

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

This book you lend, what use is it to me?  I seek a charm for renewed love and health!

 

 

ZORINA

 

Abandon love!  That love now saps your health!  That loe will prove your death!  This book could save you.  Use it well….but not for evil purposes.   (The Impresario turns to leave, taking the book)  The children of the night are old and sly; take care and take precaution…use the book.     (The Impresario exits)

 

 

ZORINA

 

Mother Night is dark and old; dark her hands; dark her hair, set with a billion stars.  Mothers, call your children home, Night has come again….

 

(The lights fade out on Zorina and immediately up on the Impresario who sits at a table in his room, reading the Dracula diary by candlelight.  An apparition echoes his words.)

 

 

SCENE SEVEN

“The Dracula Diary”

 

IMPRESARIO  (reading aloud)

 

“enchantments of the heart can hold no force against the evil hungers of the night, for those same hungers of the night can seduce the innocent to yield up their hearts.  “Tis done like this…”

 

Why!  Here’s no diary!  It is a book of spells and incantations.  Has evil such as this enslaved my Angela’s heart?  What darkness settles down upon her spirit?  How shall I free her?  Defend her?  I’ll read on….”some there are who’ll not submit to death….

 

 

ZORINA  (off)

 

The children of the night are old and sly;

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

…..some there are who feed upon the living…

 

 

ZORINA  (off)

 

take care….take precaution…use the book….use the book.

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

….and lure them into a waking death….”

 

 

ZORINA  (off)

 

And use it not for evil purpose…use the book.

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

Even so!  And such a creature threatens her life.  by God!  He’ll not succeed!  I’ll…..

 

 

ANGELA and TENOR  (off)

 

I gave my love an apple, I gave my love a heart, A worm was in the apple, a dagger in the heart.   O, woeful, woeful, woeful love, a dagger in the heart.

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

By every black and evil thing inscribed within this book.  by all of the shades of Hades, I vow he shall be stopped.  Let hell release the houds of hate and fury guide my hand!  I shall not rest until I have dispatched him to the grave!

 

(As the Impresario sings, a gust of wind blows out his candle.  The room is flooded with moonlight.  The wind rises to a furious howl in which the hideous bellowing of animals is heard.)

 

 

SCENE EIGHT

“The Murder”

 

(Night.  A performance on stage.  Angela, in costume as Nemesis, and the Tenor, in costume as Menippus, hold the stage.  They perform the same fragment of opera we have previously seen in rehearsal.  Now, however, their gestures are more gigantic and overblown and, beneath the beautiful Italian words they sing, we hear the faint but unmistakable texture of snarling.  A haggard Impresario waits, cloaked in the wings, beside an old touring trunk.  Our viewpoint is from backstage.)

 

NEMESIS

 

Dove fuggi, o giovine leggero?

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

No matter where you run, I’ll hung you down!

 

 

MENIPPUS

 

Chi mi trattiene in quest’abbandonato loco?

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

A sharp-edged justice waits upon your soul.

 

 

NEMESIS

 

I’mi son’un’che faccio onore alla verita.

 

 

MENIPPUS

 

(Ed tuo falso!)

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

(Ed tuo falso!)

 

 

MENIPPUS

 

Vien, svelati!

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

Aye, truthless and accursed, you bloody dog.  Sing well your final notes, for you must die!

 

 

(Zorina has slipped backstage and now confronts the Impresario from the opposite wing.  Music and Mime continue out ‘front’ where the ‘opera’ is taking place.)

 

 

ZORINA

 

Ill-fated man!  You would not heed my words.  Did you learn nothing from that diary?  Did you not learn that evil breeds its kind?  And now the seeds of murder come to bear a harvest of insanity and blood.  Return the book to me and leave this place!

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

I will not!  I will have my heart’s revenge upon the monster threatening my love!

 

 

ZORINA

 

You fool!   You cannot know the evil here!  That evil will devousr you alive!  Give me the book and flee while there is time!

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

I will not!   Get you gone!

 

 

ZORINA

 

So be it, foolish man!  I curse you now!  No sleep, no rest, no daylight shall you know!  No tenderness, no friendship, no goodwill, No mercy on this earth, no hope of heaven, no gentle word, no cup of kindness! But you shall hunger on the darkest nights and as you clasp your victims in your arms, their eyes shall damn you for eternity!

 

 

NEMESIS

 

Ecco, o bel giovine, d’aspetto grazioso,

la tua Nemesi son’venuta per vendicar!

Or la giustizia furibonda il tuo visaggio perfido

ed il tuo amoreggiare vano ispira!

Di noi ciascun la Terra e madre, essa

giusta e nutritiva a noi tutti……

 

 

ZORINA, IMPRESARIO, NEMESIS, MENIPPUS

 

Mai piu, dal giusto

destino evitar,

Rendetegli/Rendetemi, O Numi,

i suoi/ miei Meritar.

 

(Zorina exits.  There is a burst of applause from the ‘audience’.  Angela and the Tenor take bows and exit, Angela in the direction of Zorina’s exit; the Tenor into the wings where the Impresario waits with dagger now drawn.  Too late, the Tenor sees the madness and murder in the Impresario’s face.  The Impresario stabs the Tenor repeatedly and then stops, momentarily stunned.  The Tenor lies, unmoving, at his feet.  The impresario notices the old touring trunk nearby.  He dumps the Tenor in the trunk, closes the lid and locks it.  We hear the sound of the ‘audience’ exiting, as the Impresario turns and flees and the lights fade…)

 

 

SCENE NINE

“The Party”

 

 

(Night.  A party immediately following the opera performance.  Pale, beautifully dressed men and women saunter in a salon lit by candelabra.  We hear fragments of conversation through a background of party noise.  A small chamber orchestra plays in the distance.)

 

MALE PARTY GUEST

 

….fled before me as from a devil…

 

 

FEMALE PARTY GUEST

 

….before you?  A devil?  but you are a devil!  But so am I….my dear…my dear….

 

 

MALE PARTY GUEST

 

My dear!  My dear!   Such fear!….delicious!…to fear?

 

 

FEMALE PARTY GUEST

 

Do you remember how it was to fear?  To fear?  Mortality was dull.

 

 

MALE PARTY GUEST

 

Mortality was so dull….but….

 

 

(He breaks off as Angela, begowned and bejeweled, enters from the direction of the distant chamber orchestra.  She is met with a burst of applause.)

 

 

ANGELA (calling back)

 

Maestro, I must plead fatigue.  The hour is late, and I have not fed.

 

PARTY GUESTS

 

Brava, Diva!  Brava, Diva!

 

 

ANGELA

 

My gentle friends, I thank you.

 

 

PARTY GUESTS

 

A song, a song, a song!

 

 

ANGELA

 

Sisters….brothers….I must be excused….

 

 

PARTY GUESTS

 

A song, a song, a drinking song!

 

 

ANGELA   (surrendering)

 

I aquiesce, my friends.     (together with the Party Guests, she sings:)

 

Here’s to the night and to the beating heart

that calls to us in love from mortal form.

Here’s to the ruby blood, the fiery art,

whose dazzlements entice us from the storm.

Drink then, my brothers, sisters, all,

drink to the beating heart!

 

Here’s to the hung and to the lovely moon

that silvers every shape in gentle light.

Here’s to the blushing east that signals dawn,

and bids us cease our revels of the night.

Drink then, my brothers, sisters, all.

drink to the lovely moon!

 

Drink, for no mortal love endures,

drink, for that love is brief,

fragile as dew-stained cobweb,

gossamer or leaf….

Drink then, my brothers, sisters, all,

drink, for their love is brief!

 

(The Impresario enters as Angela sings.  He stands to one side. Amidst the applause that greets the end of the drinking song, he approaches Angela and throws himself at her feet, laying his bloody dagger down before her.  He is at the end of his tether.  Love, jealousy, hope, fear, relief, all create a tumult of emotion.  He pours out his heart to her.)

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

No, Angela, one love at least is true; one battered heart refuses to retreat. I come with guilt…guilt and murder on my head….but, Angela!  I did these things for you!  You were too noble, would not let me see the black web that he spun to snare your heart.  You struggled on in silence, losing hope, but I have killed him now to set you free!  Angela!  I am ill and I am weak.  Angela!  Your love can make me whole; begin with me and cherish me; Angela……your eyes…what do they seek?…

 

 

ANGELA   (staring over his shoulder….coldly)

 

I seek my lover’s face….and look, my lover comes!

 

(The Impresario turns in horror to see the Tenor walk through the door)

 

 

TENOR   (to Impresario)

 

You did not wait, Signore; such rudeness ill becomes you!

 

 

(He throws back his head and howls with laughter.  His laughter is joined by the other partygoers.)

 

 

PARTY GUESTS, TENOR, ANGELA   (laughing)

 

Let us drink then, my brothers sisters, all,

Drink from the bleeding heart!

 

(With a cry of anguish, the Impresario pushes his way out, followed by the mocking laughter of the guests.  The “wall of sound” swells up in the blackout that follows….a nightmarish blend of howls, laughter, wind and wolves that gradually fades back into the chanting monk we heard at the beginning of the opera.  The lights fade slowly up to reveal the Impresario kneeling beside the confessional.)

 

 

 

SCENE TEN

“The Confessional”

 

MONK

 

….sed signifer sanctus Michael

repraesentet eas in lucem sanctam.

Hostias et preces tibi, Domine,

laudis offerimus:

tu suscipe pro animabus illis,

quarum hodie memoriam facimus:

fac eas Domine,

de morte transire ad vitam….

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

Father, I hav confessed it all,

I the most miserable of men.  Father, I could not know that she would be so evil…and so beautiful.  Fortune I sought, and glory, and renown, riches and beauty  and lasting love.  Price and ambition led me ever on, but death and madness followed in their train.  Father, in my despair, I pray for death.

 

 

CONFESSOR   (sternly)

 

My child, do not embrace that deadly sin.  Despair admits no hope and shuts out God; Despair is devil’s work, a sin of pride, and by such pride the angels did once fall.  Renouce your fallen angel and her wiles! Renouce the glittering lure of her love!

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

Father, I will renounce my present way and I detest my sins.

 

 

CONFESSOR

 

So may you win forgiveness for your sins, so may a state of grace return to you.

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

Father, your faith has lent me sudden strength.  I feel a newborn hope……

 

 

CONFESSOR

 

That hope will root and grow, my child, if you do humbly repent and start anew.   Thy penance I proclaim;  leave off the life you’ve led; renouce the stage; embrace the church and all of God’s mercies.  and lastly, my dear child….

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

Yes, Father?

 

 

CONFESSOR   (thickly)

 

Give me that diary, that evil book….

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

Father, with all my heart.

 

(The Impresario leaves the book at the confessional and immediately rises and steps away from it.  He does not see the clawed hand that reaches out from the darkness of the priest’s box to grav the diary.)

 

 

SOPRANO, MEZZO, TENOR  (in backround, but coming closer)

 

Laudamus te, benedicimus te, adoramus te, glorificamus te.

 

 

IMPRESARIO

 

My God, my God, my soul cries out to Thee, take pity on this sinner, set him free.

 

 

(The Impresario kneels briefly in prayer before the statue of the Blessed Virgin.  When he raises his head, he is shocked to see the statue has turned into Angela in all her vampire glory.  He staggers back and dips his hand into the font of holy water.  it hisses and turns into steam and his hand bursts into flames.  A thtat moment, the confessional explodes. Standing in its ruins, we see the Confessor, Angela’s maid, and the Tenor…all vampires.  As the impresario back away, the four vampires advance on him.  They sing.)

 

 

ANGELA, TENOR, MAID, CONFESSOR

 

Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum et vitam venturi saeculi….

 

(From the shadowy sides of the chapel, additional figures dressed in dark, hooded cloaks begin to close in on the Impresario)

 

 

ANGELA   (exultantly)

Ite missa est!

 

(All the figures have now surrounded the Impresario.  With a great hiss, they settle down on him, a black flock of buzzards on carrion….)

ALL

 

Deo gratias…..

 

CURTAIN

 

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