On December 27th, Composer Gerard Chiusano and Librettists Bob Cutrofello and Mary Hochman-Chiusano joined my husband Wayne and me in Connecticut with their marvelous families. We feasted and worked and feasted some more. Bob has written the Prologue and two scenes: the first a comic interchange between the married and pregnant Beatrice and her soon-to-be-sister-in-law, the virgin Caterina; the second a rollicking sea chantey (celebrating bridegroom Lorenzo’s return to Venice from a lucrative voyage on the galley he captains) that quits and shifts genres when Lorenzo witnesses an infant’s being purposely flung into the lagoon. Meanwhile, Mary has penned a poignant aria for the usually formidable and wicked Abbess Vittoria Ubaldi, sung by the nun when she is in private and mourning an unspeakable loss that figures as one of the major secrets of the story. Matching his incipient notes with particular lines as well as the contextual atmosphere that is Venice, Jerry questioned and commented as we went. I still hear myself saying “Lapping, Venice is always lapping. It is reflection–reflected light, reflected stone structures, reflected cloaked figures, reflected boats. And church bells, footsteps, shadows, echoes.”
I’ll keep you posted as we go.