Zerbinetta Draft 1

I stayed home from the office today so I could write the Ariadne supertitles. Remember how cocky I was last spring when I finished Giorno months early? Well, Alcina was barely done in time, and now Ariadne is sneaking in under the wire.

It took 11 hours, but draft #1 is done! Over these next weeks it will undergo revisions suggested by our director and conductor, and it will be mercilessly examined by TL. (Keine Panik!)

There were three high points in the day.

First, the exchange between the Composer and Zerbinetta in the Prologue. I had forgotten so many of those details. Second, the challenging final scene, the draft script for which still bears lots of “FIX THIS” and “TOO CLUNKY” markings. It’ll be a work in progress, for matching the quality and pacing of the language to the breathtaking elegaic music will not be easy. And, as every supertitler (is that a word?) knows, the best way to engender unintentional opera comedy is to miscalculate on the match between translations and music.

The third delight was the chance to give English to Zerbinetta. I absolutely adore her big scene, and although she’s a bit of a mystery to conservative old me, I feel I would love to have her as a friend. An entertaining, daring, slightly kooky friend.

Grossmächtige Prinzessin

Most powerful Princess, I know that a noble person’s sadness cannot be measured like that of a mere mortal.

However… Are we not both women, and doesn’t a mysterious heart beat in each of our breasts?

Isn’t it painfully sweet to admit our weaknesses to ourselves? And do we not desire it?

You don’t want to listen to me. Beautiful, proud, and motionless – as if you were the statue on your own tomb… Do you wish for no other confidante than these rocks and waves?

Princess, listen to me. You are not alone.

We all know this pain that numbs your heart. Where is the woman who has not suffered it? Forsaken! In despair! Abandoned!

I myself have inhabited numerous desert islands, even in the midst of many people. And yet I haven’t learned to curse men.

Yes, they are faithless! Indescribable monsters! A short night, a quick day, a light breeze, a fleeting glance – all that’s needed to change their affections. But are we immune to their cruel, delicious, inexplicable changes of heart?

Yet when I believe I belong to only one man, and I feel quite sure of it, there steals into my heart a quiet and as yet untasted freedom… A new stolen love – with wandering, naughty emotions!

Still I am true, and yet, it is a lie. I believe myself true, but I am already wicked.

Everything is measured with false weights. Unwittingly and dizzingly, I deceive him even though I love him!

So it was with Pagliaccio and Mezzetino, with Cavicchio and Burratino, then Pasquariello! Occasionally (or so it seemed), there were two at a time!

Never on a whim, always out of duty – always a wonder that a heart should understand itself so little.

Like a god each of them came to me, and his approach left me speechless. He kissed my cheek, and I was captured and changed completely. I surrendered without a word.

With each new god, I surrendered without a word!

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