The Dreaming Season (2002)

for baritone and string quartet

The Dreaming Season is an arrangement and revision of an aria from the opera Buffa, which tells the story of a struggling American opera company performing an 18th-century Italian opera entitled La pastorella (The Shepherdess). In the first scene of Act III, Arthur, the director, sings about his growing identification with the character of the Prince, and his increasing infatuation with Anna, the soprano who plays the title role of La pastorella, in an aria that blurs past and present:

Left for dead in a meadow,
a prince dreams of empty living rooms,
winter afternoons,
drifting off to dreadful safety
behind blind, hidden lids.

How many years go by? How many sullen evenings
thread through these heavy hills,
folding submissive, singular features into the unanimous beats
and meters of the night?

If the day permits, his head will lift
to angled shadows and grains of light,
weaving feeble strands of fantasy
into a sight of trembling splendor!

His eyes will seize on the sinuous whirl,
widen in surprise, a slice of recognition:
the sparkling inside, the child we hide,
released from time’s divine magician!

Oh, Anna,
my pastorella:
your lamb,
your wandering prince awakes!
Bring me,
sing me to your distant meadow
before the dusky vision vanishes
and the dreaming season
slips away!