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The Scarlet Libretto

David Mason

Publication Year: 2012

In this dramatic text for Lori Laitman's opera of The Scarlet Letter, award-winning poet David Mason, author of Ludlow and other works, has given new life in verse to Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic novel. By distilling the book's narrative line and adding a charged lyricism of his own, Mason has created another magnificent work in his ongoing poetic portrait of America.

Published by: Red Hen Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Preface

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Act One. Scene One

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pp. 1-10

It is June. Lights rise on a common in old Boston, a space serving as marketplace and green. On one side the hulking jailhouse where, surprisingly, a blooming rose bush thrives. Next to the jailhouse door, steps rise to a scaffold about shoulder height. Across the open space a community meeting house rises. ...

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Scene Two

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pp. 11-18

Later the same day. Hester’s room in the jail. A small bed where she tends her baby. Chillingworth, carrying a doctor’s satchel, is shown in by the beadle. ...

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Scene Three

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pp. 19-26

Summer, years later. The garden outside the house of Governor Bellingham. Strolling among the blooming roses are the Governor, himself, with John Wilson. Behind them, evidently in a separate conversation, are Roger Chillingworth and Arthur Dimmesdale, the one looking older, the other paler, as if ill. ...

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Scene Four

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pp. 27-35

A small space of light. The home of Arthur Dimmesdale, now shared with Roger Chillingworth. Dimmesdale sits in a chair, evidently ill, a blanket over his lap. Chillingworth shakes a vial and pours its contents into a drinking glass. ...

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Act Two. Scene One

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pp. 36-48

Daylight. The dappled light of the forest on the edge of town. Hester and Pearl, the latter in her red dress, are walking away from town, into the woods. Chillingworth intercepts them. ...

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Scene Two

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pp. 49-63

Lights rise on the street as we saw it at the beginning of the opera: meeting house, scaffold, jail, all decorated for Election Day. The crowd is gathering: farmers, fishermen, sailors, goodwives, a few Indians. ...

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About the Author

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David Mason is the Poet Laureate of Colorado. His books of poems include The Buried Houses (winner of the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize), The Country I Remember (winner of the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award), and Arrivals. His versenovel, Ludlow, won the Colorado Book Award in 2007, ...


E-ISBN-13: 9781597093187
Print-ISBN-13: 9781597091701
Print-ISBN-10: 1597091707

Page Count: 80
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: First

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Subject Headings

  • Operas -- Librettos.
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