Commedia dell'arte troupe Gelosi in a late 16th-century Flemish painting (Musée Carnavalet, Paris). The woman is usually identified as Isabella Andreini.

Commedia dell'arte troupe Gelosi in a late 16th-century Flemish painting (Musée Carnavalet, Paris). The woman is usually identified as Isabella Andreini.

The libretto for Colombines Paradise Theatre is inspired by the poetry of 17th century actress and writer, Isabella Andreini and features three stock characters from commedia dell'arte:

- Colombine (played by Lisa Kaplan/piano)

- Harlequin (played by Timothy Munro/flute, Yvonne Lam/violin, and Michael Maccaferri/clarinet); and

- Pierrot (played by Matthew Duvall/percussion)

A character of the composer's own imagination, The Harbinger (played by Nicholas Photinos/cello) is inspired by Ingmar Bergman's chess-playing spector in The Seventh Seal as well as by the commedia's death-like character, Fosca.

Selected Poems of Isabella Andreini  (Scarecrow Press 2005) by Anne MacNeil (trans. James Wyatt Cook) is the source for all things Isabella.

 

 

Scenes / Text:

PART ONE 

  • death sweet breath
  • love Harlequin:

I bind her here in the moonless night I wind her

I alone can touch her pain I alone can know my Colombine again

Let me eat her Reason: let me swallow every light that blinds her

and feast upon the stars that find her 

 

PART TWO 

  • bass drum moon #1 (variation 2)
  • comfort
  • my charming murderer:

what a charming fatal wound: the charming hurt is quick the charming healing slow

I sigh and after I yearn - a delirium more handsome than ever turns his gaze on me  

then like lightening bolts… so my soul stirs - and heart breaks 

 

PART THREE

  • bass drum moon #2 (variation 1)
  • snare / shiver


PART FOUR

  • bass drum moon #3 (Pierrot’s theme):

one thing alone is real

  • night swallows light (triangulation)
  • Colombine my heart come:

Colombine my heart come - I desire I love not because your brutal beauty binds me…no, sweet siren 

I desire I love because there beneath your chest beats my heart  

and I can’t live without my heart: a desire to live urges me to this - a desire for life 

Colombine my heart come to wander we two in the light of the moon 

 

PART FIVE

  • she comes undone (finale)