Scene 3 - Excerpt 1 (3:26)
Jewish Man:
The day is nearly done.
I have no spark left
to kindle my anger.
Let him walk in peace.
 
The Christian woman enters stage right.  She too is listening to the voice.  The man sees her and stands apart.
 
Christian Woman:                         Jewish Man:
Sing my child,                                  Be silent now!
lead me to you!                                You are not alone.
 
The Christian woman sees the Jewish Man and addresses him.
 
Christian Woman:
Excuse me sir,
have you seen my child?
We’re playing a game,
but now it is late;
he must be hungry.
 
He refuses to look at her.  
 
Jewish Man:
This is another trick
to force words from my mouth.
 
She moves closer to him.    
 
Christian Woman:
Why, oh why do you ignore me?
The day is nearly gone,
and I cannot find my son.
Can’t you hear his voice?
 
Jewish Man:(still speaking to himself)
I can hear nothing else,
but you will not hear me.
 
Christian Woman:
I would fear the worst,
but still his voice sings.
 
Jewish Man:
I can hear nothing else.
 
Christian Woman:                      Jewish Man:
Speak!  Have you seen him?        
Forget the law and speak!            She can forget the law
Speak!                                            but I must remember.
For the Love of God,
Forget the law and speak!            I must remember the law!
 
Scene 3 continues
 
Scene 3 - Excerpt 2 (2:56)
The Jewish Man moves cautiously toward the well.  Peering into it, he sees the Boy. He decides to help him.
 
Jewish Man:
Hold on tight,
Let me pull you free.
 
He reaches into the well and struggles to lift the boy.  The chant grows louder. When his body finally appears, the boy’s song transforms into a hideously ugly version of the chant.   The man stumbles and places the body on the ground next to the well.  The man is horrified!
 
Dead! Dead, and still he sings!
His throat is cut and still he sings.
What magic is this?
 
Now I see the truth.
Not fallen, no accident.
A Jew has thrown him in,
And all of us shall pay the price.
 
The Christian Woman  rushes in from where she last exited, drawn by the chant. She is overjoyed.
 
Christian Woman:
My child!  Your song!
Surely I have found you!    
 
She turns to the well and stops.  Framed against the scrim, the man stands over the child’s bloody body, stunned.
 
Christian Woman:
No! No! My child, my child!
 
She rushes toward the well.  The man stands in her path in order to keep her from the body
 
Jewish Man:
No, do not look!
The boy is dead.
 
Christian Woman:
But he still sings!
Surely he must still live!
 
Jewish Man:
Surely I tell you,
the boy is dead.
 
Christian Woman:
My child, my child!
 
She breaks free of his grasp and cradles the body in her arms.  He stands apart from her.
 
My child is dead, his throat is cut.
And still he sings.
Scene 3 continues
 
Scene 3 - Excerpt 3 (2:14)
The Christian Woman looks up at the Jewish Man with hatred.
 
Christian Woman:    
I asked for help;
you gave me none.
You knew he was dead.
 
Jewish Man: (responding to her):
No!  I found him.
I have done nothing wrong.
 
Christian Woman:    
You, you killed him,
and now you hide
him in the well.
 
Jewish Man:
I raised him up!
 
Christian Woman:
You cast him down!
    
Jewish Man:    
I’ve done nothing wrong!
 
Christian Woman:                        Jewish Man:
You beast!                                        I found him!
You monster!                                  I have done nothing wrong!
Murderer!                     
    
The Christian woman, on her knees with the body is he lap, lifts her eyes to God and begins to pray. At the same time the Jewish Man, standing apart, raises his arms to God and begins to pray.
 
Christian Woman        
Mary!                        
 
Jewish Man:
Elohim!            
 
Christian Woman
O Blessed Mother,
 
Jewish Man:
O Divine Father,                
Christian Woman:
Whose precious child was lost        
And rose again,
 
Jewish Man:
Whose precious children you
Saved from persecution,
 
Christian Woman and Jewish Man:
Now call upon your Holy One
To grant me justice!
 
The man flees.  The Christian Woman is left cradling the body.  Blackout.  The chant continues.
 
End Scene 3
 
In Scene 3, the Christian Woman comes upon the Jewish Man in the street.  Beginning to worry about her son, she asks the Jewish Man for his help.  When he refuses to break the law in order to speak to her, she angrily comments upon the Jews’ slavish legalism.  She rushes off.  
Now alone, the Jewish Man follows the chant to its source: the well in the center of town.  After wrestling with what to do next, his conscience prevails and he pulls the Boy out.  When the Boy’s body emerges we see that he is dead, but that, through a miracle, the Alma still pours from his slit throat.   (Throughout this scene, the boy’s song is actually a digitally-processed recorded version of the chant.. When the body emerges from the well, the recording of the chant becomes horribly disfigured.)
At this moment, the Christian Woman arrives at the well. Seeing the Jewish Man with the dead body, she naturally assumes he is the murderer.  Despite his assertions that he had rescued the boy, she refuses to believe that a Jew would do anything so noble.  She calls for help, and he flees as the authorities approach.
Scenes 4-6 are currently under construction.  Click on “The Project”, below, to read a plot summary of the rest of the opera.
 
 
The Prioress’s Tale
A Chamber Opera in One Act
Eastern Nazarene College Presents
The Project     The Music     The Artists     Support    Links      Contact    
Go to Delvyn Case’s homepage  http://www.enc.edu/~delvyn.case/index/index.htmlshapeimage_14_link_0