A One Act libretto for a mini-opera
By G. L. Horton
copyright © 2010
DAUGHTER (between 30-50) is listening to the Radio-- probably NPR- as she goes through papers.
The Announcer's VOICE says "So Mr. Blotz, who before his accident had never been particularly musical or even listened to classical music, got an arranger to help him learn how to write down the notes that now filled his head. And last week his first CD, "Auditory Visions" was released by Concertina."
(music begins to play, sounding rather like a lullaby)
"We'll be right back with the weather report--- after this cut from "Auditory Visions"
DAUGHTER hears a woman's voice-- which sounds like her late MOTHER's, singing along.
MOTHER (sings) Lulay my darling/I'm singing to you
(distressed, DAUGHTER shuts radio off, but MOTHER's voice continues) Loving my lonely one/What should I do?
DAUGHTER (her lines are spoken, always, till the last Duet. The MOTHER's song is nearly continuous, a capella at first but the accompanied by otherworldly instruments of the sort that an electronic keyboard can produce.)
MOTHER (sings) Don't shut my voice away. Please hear what I must say.
DAUGHTER Get out of my head, dammit! It was bad enough when you were alive and off on tour, your long-distance nagging!
MOTHER (sings) Then let this seem
To be a dream. No need to scream!
DAUGHTER I know this is all in my head. I'll just keep thinking my own thoughts. Saying them out loud. Loud enough to drown you out, dammit--!
MOTHER (sings) There's only one thing I need you to know
And then I promise to go
DAUGHTER I own my own head! My thoughts, my life.
MOTHER Soothing the hurt if I can
According to plan--
(A gray ghostly materialization of MOTHER appears)
DAUGHTER I must be going mad. I think I see you.
MOTHER Oh, my dear, I'm really here.
A once in an Afterlife visit,
DAUGHTER It's not enough your voice rings in my ear....
MOTHER Confronting the loss and the pain.
Once visit is not too much, is it?
To tell you I love you again?
DAUGHTER Again? You loved me? When?
MOTHER From the day you first were born
Till the last of Forever.
DAUGHTER (now with instrumental accompaniment, the "song" DAUGHTER "should" be singing)
You never loved me. Never. You loved your voice, You loved your "art". I was simply a drain on your soul. An obstacle. On the path to your Goal.
MOTHER I sang you to sleep, I sang you sweet dreams,
Beautiful dreams, all for you to keep
To last through the sleep beyond sleep.
MOTHER (speaks, her first spoken line)
When you were 4 or 5, you begged to hear me sing--
DAUGHTER (spoken, but in the rhythm of the accompaniment's song, The song she continues to resist.)
At 4 or 5 I didn't know! I was your audience: you were the show-- though I was fool enough to think you were singing for me.
MOTHER I sang you play songs.
You sang along.
Just every day songs--
DAUGHTER (with accompaniment)
They were all wrong!
The wheels on the bus! MacDonald's Farm!
Ugly and stupid, like me!
You couldn't wait till I'd outgrow them.
So eager to walk out the door-- Why are you here?
MOTHER I'll make it clear:
Every day of my death
I've been waiting
Waiting till your thoughts would let me come
But you were numb--
DAUGHTER I try not to think of you.
MOTHER Or think of music?
DAUGHTER Yes, I hate music!
That's thanks to you.
Give me silence, give me noise!
MOTHER You ran from all its joys--!
DAUGHTER The better that you sang the less I liked it. To me it meant how far you'd gone away. Though sometimes-- it's true-- I longed to be like you-- Gifted and worth loving! Oh, how I prayed... Make me crippled, Make me blind! Let me wake some other kind
MOTHER (spoken) Like that man who crashed his car? (sings) Who woke from nearly dead With music in his head--
(spoken) What the Announcer said --
(sings) Or was it something else you read. ...?
That put music in Your head And brought me here.
DAUGHTER Don't sing! Stop singing! I hate it when you sing!
MOTHER (spoken) Surprise? I hated it too.
(sings) I felt my voice wasn't good enough
Far too tame, or else too rough
Didn't suit the song--
I could see It didn't suit you.
But practice to perfection
Was all I thought to do!
Someday, just the right inflection
Would make it all come true.
And please everyone I knew-- Including you.
DAUGHTER As if your being perfect would please me! When all I wanted was your love, just as we are!
MOTHER & DAUGHTER DUET
As we are
We're our own music.
One imperfect melody
When we care, and utter loving
What we share's in harmony
This is Today, and it's Tomorrow,
And souls fly free!
Though its moment may be brief
Though its motive abject sorrow
and its subject bitter grief
Take me in: We begin.
When you know me
When we're singing
And you add Your song to mine
Now we forgive.
Past death, we live.
As we are
All being's music
All in tune
And all in time. Like the spheres
Our sound's sublime
We're one. And none.
Alone. Our Own.
One song. We sing on.