Scene4 Magazine - Violetta's Lament | | Griselda Steiner | April 2013 |
Violetta's Lament

Griselda Steiner

writings: dialogue

April 2013

Lyric from the Musical Hypatia

            I shall die! But, oh! My memory may he not rashly curse                    
            Do thou my pains and sorrows to my beloved rehearse
            This bitter sacrifice to make to blighted love;
            but ever, whilst I live, None else shall have my heart.
                                   (From the libretto by Francesco Maria Piave)

In Verdi's 1852 opera "La Traviata" (The Fallen One) Violetta, a beautiful but sickly Parisian courtesan, falls in love with Alfredo, a bourgeoisie gentlemen.  While living happily together in their country retreat, Alfredo's father asks Violetta to leave him because her reputation might destroy his daughters marriage prospect. Violetta reluctantly agrees.  Not knowing why she abandoned him, Alfredo abuses her.  It is only when she is on her deathbed that the father reveals what he has done and Alfredo returns too late to declare his love.

One of the tragic heroines in my musical Hypatia, Violetta is given a chance to change her destiny when the Old Diva wanders the grand opera stage where she performed during her career.  The Diva's deepest wish is that her Heroines be set free from their plots.  After she trips on a trap door, she is visited in a dream by Hypatia,  Crown Priestess of Destiny, who takes her heroines on journey where they each sing a lament, confront their composers and are given a role in a future where women have the power to break the repressive bonds of the past.

SCENE  -  A large pink camellia flower backdrop  hangs Center Stage .  Violetta, holds a white handkerchief as she sings and swoons onto a white sofa
Violetta's Lament

    the deepest tragedy
    to die when love
    love is finally mine

    When Lord Alfredo declared his love
    I searched my soul - unsure of love

    Waltzing midst chandeliers and wine
    we soon left paris for a year divine

    In the country light shafted through the leaves
    in Alfredo's arms i felt complete
    the crickets sang us to sleep

    His father came and told me to leave
    his daughter's fiance would not wed
    into a house of shame
    me he blamed
    I had to leave alfredo
    I want to live in love's sweet bosom
    turn betrayal into happiness

    Damn the moral family class
    that stole the sand from my hourglass

    At the ball Alfredo hit me to the floor
    his gambling faux monies paid for
    my love and my corps
    I was all alone
    consumption at the door,
    all alone

    Alas Germont felt guilt for his son's ruin
    he traveled to see me in Paris
    to Alfredo he had confessed
    my love's forgiveness
    my last caress

    I want to live in love's sweet bosom
    turn betrayal into happiness
    damn the moral family class
    that stole the sand from my hourglass

    A comedy
    the greatest comedy
    when my story
    brings laughter divine


    The father enters my home
    he makes his request
    lightening strikes his chest

    No - that would stop the show

    The father enters my home
    and makes his request
    aroused, he does my body harm
    I call the gendarmes
    his reputation destroyed
    he has no power over me
    A comedy
    the greatest comedy
    when my story
    brings laughter divine

    No woman should ever die
    to suit a hypocrite's lie

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©2013 Griselda Steiner
©2013 Publication Scene4 Magazine

Griselda Steiner is a poet, dramatist and free-lance writer living in New York City. A member of the Playwrights and Directors Unit of the Actors Studio from 2007 through 2009, she has written the play MARY M and the MAD PROPHET, the musical HYPATIA and screenplay THE GODDESS IN EXILE.
For more of her writing and articles, check the Archives


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