ARTEMISIA, by Laura Schwendinger Version 1/27/2017 Libretto by Ginger Strand Artemisia...

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Transcript of ARTEMISIA, by Laura Schwendinger Version 1/27/2017 Libretto by Ginger Strand Artemisia...

  • ARTEMISIA, by Laura Schwendinger Version 1/27/2017

    Libretto by Ginger Strand Artemisia: 
 In this performance half of the opera was performed excluding some short orchestral interludes (5/8 scenes 45/90 min)

    Cast

    Artemisia Gentileschi: mezzo soprano

    Tomasso, her painting assistant: high tenor

    Susanna: from Artemisia’s Susanna and the Elders-and the “Young Artemisia”: Soprano

    Elder 1, from the “Tableau Vivant” of Susanna and the Elders, and as Agostino Tassi, the painter who raped Artemisia: Baritone

    Elder 2, from the “Tableau Vivant” Susanna and the Elders, and a duel role as Cosimo II de' Medici: Low baritone

    Oculist: a light baritone

    Soprano in Barbra Strozzi’s aria Che si può Fare?

    Not in these scenes, but heard in other “Tableau Vivant”

    Orsazio Gentileschi, Artemisia’s father

    Tuzia: Orazio’s houskeeper

  • Five Scenes in Two Acts (when in full performance, 8 scenes in Two Acts)

    Scene 1 Artemisia Gentileschi Tomasso, her assistant

    Artemisia’s painting studio in Naples, 1649. Enter Artemisia and her assistant, Tommaso. She is 51, well-dressed, self-controlled, occasionally imperious, occasionally flirtatious. She is losing her sight, which slowly becomes clear throughout the performance.

    (Artemisia is dictating a letter to Don Antonio Ruffo, Tomasso repeats after Artemisia as he writes, sometimes he responds with in his own voice and responses)

    Artemisia: Most illustrious sir

    Tomasso: Most illustrious sir

    Artemisia: And my master

    Tomasso: And my master

    Artemisia: Don Antonio Ruffo

    Tomasso: Don Antonio Ruffo

    Artemisia: By God’s will your illustrious lordship Has now received my painting of Galatea. I feared that before you saw it
 You must have thought me arrogant

  • Tomasso: Must have thought me arrogant . . . surely, madam, he did not.

    Artemisia: But I hope to God now that you have seen it You agree I was not out of line 
 In fact if I were not so affectionate

    Tomasso: …If I were not so affectionate

    Artemisia: I should never have given it up for
 One hundred and sixty ducats 
 Since my usual rate is one hundred scudi per figure.

    This is true in Florence 
 And in Venice and Rome and even in Naples 
 When there was more money here.

    Tomasso: When there was more money here...

    (to Artemisia) 
 Alas, my lady, it is true.

    Artemisia: Your illustrious lordship must pity me 
 For a woman’s name raises doubt 
 Until her work is seen. Forgive me, for God’s sake, If you thought I was greedy.

    Tomasso: Surely not my lady.

    Artemsia: But if you like the painting 
 I shall serve you again 
 This time with greater perfection And will send you my portrait To hang in your gallery

  • Tomasso: To hang in your gallery. . .

    Artemisia: As the other Princes do.

    …No, no don’t write that. 
 Finish the letter like this: 
 I close by paying my most humble reverence

    Tomasso: By paying my most humble reverence

    Artemisia: To your most Illustrious lordship With assurances that as long as I live I should obey your every command. Your most humble servant
 Etcetera
 Artemisia Gentileschi

    Tomasso: To you most illustrious lordship

    That as long as I live
 I should obey every command Your most humble

    Etcetera
 Naples, January thirtieth Sixteen forty nine. Artemisia: 
 Naples, Sixteen forty nine

    (Artemisia and Tomasso start to move around the studio in a hurry as they talk about what needs to be done, and what works need to be painted. They tap about the painting of Galatea, that Artemisia has finished and now sent to Don Ruffo) 


  • Artemisia (to Tomasso): Galatea has gone to Messina 
 To hang in Don Ruffo’s fine hall. 
 The seascape you drew for my Galatea Will hang with works by Guercino
 Reni, Poussin, Ribera, Van Dyke 
 And the Dutchman Rembrandt van Rijn This is good for us
 Good for me 
 For Don Ruffo has plenty of money
 And as you know I am bankrupt.
 and my daughter must wed. 
 I have already sold everything so that I can To afford her dowry.

    (Tomasso tries to pull Artemisia back to work)

    Tomasso: The canvas is stretched and ready. I prepared it last night.

    Artemisia: And sketched in the balustrade?

    Tomasso: Yes, my lady.

    Artemisia: I hope the Sicilians are wealthy For money is scarce here in Naples The marchese, the prior, the bishop All of them want paintings 
 But they don’t want to pay enough.

    Tomasso: Shall I mix the paints, madam?

    Artemisia: They all want Bathshebas, Tomasso Dianas for the less pious.
 They all want beauties in baths, in baths! I need better models.

    I must work on the next Another woman at her bath.

  • ( Tomasso again tries to pull Artemisia back to work, as she obsesses on her models and payment)

    Tomasso: The canvas is stretched and ready 
 I prepared it last night 
 Averardo da’ Medici wants a Susanna

    Artemisia: I need better models Tomasso.

    Tomasso: Yes my Lady

    Artemisia: These Neopolitan sluts won’t do!

    Tomasso: There are three women coming today I think one of them might be all right.

    Artemisia: Trust me Tomasso Don Ruffo will get us through these hard times. You know my health is not perfect But my Galatea was good. 
 If he likes it, you mark my words He will want a Diana next.

    Tomasso: You are probably right

    Artemisia: He will want Diana.

    Tomasso: Yes my lady

    Artemisia: I paint all scenes well Tomasso

    Tomasso: I’m sure you do, madam.

    Artemisia: No one is better than me at setting a scene.

    Tomasso: That is why I came here to serve you

  • And learn the ways of your art.

    Artemisia: There are three kinds of painting, Tomasso 
 Three ways to make great art
 They are not all equal any more than artists have equal skill.

    Third in line is the painting 
 Made from the pure imagination alone

    Gives birth to the image we see.

    Better than that is the painting 
 That bursts forth from the world itself The painter’s eye finds beauty in nature And captures her with a brush.

    But the highest form of painterly art 
 Is the synthesis of the two 
 Where the high idea and the world of the real

    Are brought into unity.

    When the manner born in the mind

    Meets the matter of all that’s real 
 The resulting marriage of truth and ideal

    Makes an art that is truly rare. 
 When the manner born in the mind

    Meets the matter of all that’s real 
 The resulting marriage of truth and ideal Makes an art that is truly rare.

    Artemisia and Tomasso: Born in the mind meets the matter of

  • All that’s real 
 Of all that’s real 
 Truly rare
 An art
 An art that is truly rare

    Tomasso: Your Susanna, madam.

    Artemisia: Susanna. Everyone wants me to paint Susanna. You know why. You know why Tomasso?

    Tomasso: It must be because 
 Your Susannas are divine.

    Artemisia: My first Susanna was divine, Tomasso. I was just a girl.

    Tomasso: You have said you were but seventeen. Shall I mix the brown or the blue?

    Artemisia: Many refused to believe it 
 They said my father painted it. 
 He had taught me to make art, that part is true. But the composition was mine.

    Tomasso: Susanna was in the foreground?

    Artemisia: Fully two-thirds of the canvas 
 Was filled with Susanna’s form 
 And her pose left the viewer no doubt About how she felt.
 How she felt.

    Tomasso: How she felt… (realizing the meaning for Artemisia)

  • Artemisia: Still the highest form of painterly art

    Is the synthesis of the two 
 Where the highest idea 
 And the world of the real are brought into unity

    When the manner born in the mind 
 The matter of all that’s real 
 The resulting marriage of truth and ideal

    Artemisia and Tomasso:

    Makes an art that’s truly rare 
 Makes an art that’s truly rare 
 That is truly rare 
 That is truly rare

    Born in the mind meets the matter of 
 All that’s real 
 Of all that’s real 
 Truly rare
 An art
 Art that is truly rare 
 That is truly rare

  • Scene 2 Susanna and Elders: A Tableau Vivant of the painting by Artemisia Gentileschi Susanna is in her garden bathing nude while two elderly men threaten her from the edge of her garden

    Susanna, then Susanna becomes the “Young Artemisia”

    Elder 1, Elder 1 becomes Agostina Tassi

    Elder 2, Elder 2 becomes Cosimo II de' Medici

    
 Susanna: My name is Susanna
 I am wife to Joachim 
 I have sent my handmaids back
 To fetch oil and clothes 
 It is hot and I want to bathe 
 Here in the garden that my husband 
 Had made for my pleasure, my pleasure, my pleasure

    How I love the low hum of the bees 
 And the wind’s delicate caress

    Elder 1:
 Susanna don’t be scared
 We hid here to talk to you Susanna you are so lovely

    And you want us to see you or else why would you Walk in the garden each day

  • (Susanna tries to ignore them and lose herself in the beauty sanctity of private garden, surrounded by “humming bees and the winds delicate caress”)