Dramatic Texts >> Gerald Papasian >> ANOUSH

ANOUSH

An Opera in three acts(see endnote1)

by

ARMEN TIGRANIAN

Based upon the Poem by

HOVHANNES TOUMANIAN

English singing version by

GERALD  PAPASIAN


Published by Wayne State University Press for the Michigan Opera Theatre, Detroit, 1981

Revised in 2006 with added stage directions by Gerald PAPSIAN based on his staging of the opera at the M.O.T.

CHARACTERS

ANOUSH - (Soprano) A village girl

SARO  - (Tenor) A shepherd and Anoush's lover

MOSSY - (Baritone) A shepherd and Anoush's brother

ANOUSH'S MOTHER - (Mezzo-Soprano)

SARO'S MOTHER - (Mezzo-Soprano)

VILLAGE ELDER - (Bass)

OHAN -   (Tenor)
BEST MAN -  (Tenor)

VILLAGE WATCHMAN - (Bass)

VILLAGE GIRLS

VILLAGE MEN

COPYRIGHT ©GERALD PAPASIAN 1981 & 2006

NOTE

This libretto was published by the Wayne State University Press on the occasion of the American premiere of ANOUSH sung in English on the 30th of October 1981 at the Michigan Opera Theatre, Detroit, Michigan. It became the first Armenian opera ever produced by a prestigious international opera company outside Armenia and Armenian communities.

President and general director of the Michigan Opera Theatre David DiChiera invited actor/director Gerald Papasian to stage the opera and provide the company with an English singing version, in the lack of which the work was considered not performable.

In 2001 the same opera company staged a new production of ANOUSH, again directed by G. Papasian, however, this time the company sang the entire opera in its Armenian original with English digital sur-titles.

On both occasions the conductor was Maestro Raffi Armenian and the Set designer Franco Colavecchia.

The cover art of the original publication is by Richard R. Kinney, based on an original idea by Nora Azadian.

On the occasion of posting this translation on the ADAA site, Gerald Papasian has added new annotations and stage directions to the original publication.

ACT I

Synopsis: Anoush, her mother, and her brother, Mossy, live in the Armenian mountain village of Lori. Anoush hears her love, Saro, singing in the distance, and, hoping to see him, begs her mother to let her go to the spring where the village girls are gathering. At the spring, Anoush sings and dances with the other girls until Saro arrives. Saro tells Anoush of his passionate love for her, but she is made unhappy by premonitions of misfortune. At the village festival celebrating Ascension Day, Anoush’s forebodings are intensified. The villagers dance and sing, and then undertake wrestling matches whose traditional rules prescribe that every bout must end in a draw. The villagers urge Saro and Mossy to wrestle, but Mossy declines. The men leave, and the girls begin the customary holiday practice of fortune telling. When Anoush hears that her lover will die, shot through the heart, she exclaims that a curse laid upon her as a child has been confirmed.

PROLOGUE

VOICES IN THE HILLS
Alas, Anoush, mountain flower;
Alas, your deep tormented eyes!
Voush (see endnote2), voush, Anoush; voush, voush, sweet maid.
Alas to love, woeful your fate!
Oh come, Anoush, let us take you to your love.
Alas to love, woeful your fate!
Voush, voush, Saro; alas, Saro; those mountains fair
Cry out, “Despair!”
Voush, voush, voush.


SCENE I

(A mountain pasture. ANOUSH is seen working outside a tent.)  


SARO (Serenading offstage)
Oh, heartless maiden, stay still in your tent.
Whene’er you appear, my heart you torment.
My songs are but words of grief and lament.
Wandr’ing all alone, far away from my home,
My sheep in the fields have all gone astray.

ANOUSH (to her mother as she comes out of the tent)
Who is he, Nanni (see endnote3), gently singing thus?
Listen, dear Nanni, is he calling us?

ANOUSH’S MOTHER
That’s enough, Anoush! Get yourself inside.
Do not linger there; it’s not dignified.
What will people say when they see you speak
With the shepherd boys? They’ll gossip all week.

SARO (offstage)
My heart with your love I cannot forswear.
I’m bound with the strands of your raven hair.

I’ll steal you away; no more can I bear.

You, my mountain doe, I see from below,

Your cheeks red as rose, your hair so black, Anoush!

ANOUSH
Look there, dear Nanni, up in the mountains
The reeds are growing, so slender and green
Nanni, let me go; let me braid the reeds
High up in the mountains, happy songs I’ll sing.

ANOUSH’S MOTHER
Now be still, Anoush, you’re a child no more.
You must keep away from young shepherd’s words.
Get yourself inside and see to your work.
Don’t you dare, Anoush! It’s indecent.
Oh. You shameless girl!

(She pushes Anoush inside the tent and follows her in)

SARO (offstage)
Your fam’ly must know my plight and my woe,

Or else, my blood for you will flow.

I’ll take to the hills, this life to forego.

 (Saro enters)  

Oh, girl with dark eyes,
Haunting, dream-filled eyes!
Anoush, I love you. Anoush, I love you.

(Instead of Anoush, the mother appears menacing with her broom. Saro runs out)

  

ANOUSH (Coming out of the tent)
My heart, sweet Nanni, is at times so sore,
It would softly weep, I know not wherefore.
Suddenly my heart takes wing to depart,
But I know not where, but I know not where.
Nanni, dear Nanni, oh, what can I do?
Unhappy and sad must I always be?
Nanni, please Nanni, let me take the jug,
And with all the girls go down to the spring.

(The mother gives up and nods her head in approval. Anoush happily kisses her, takes the jug and rushes out.)

(End of scene 1)

SCENE 2

(The bank of the Debet River.)

(Village girls gather at a fountain to fill jugs with water and share the day’s gossip)

VILLAGE GIRLS
Rivers flow beneath the mountains,
Rushing wildly over rocks.
Whose love weeps there in sad despair,
Softly, softly, all alone?
Oh, cool waters, limpid waters,
Washing mountains in your haste.
Tell me, tell me, roaring river,
Did my love your waters taste?

ANOUSH (Joining the group. Singing same time as the girls.)
If ever he your waters drank,
Did it cool his flaming heart?
Did he recline upon your bank?
From his soul did grief depart?
Ah, from his heart?

VILLAGE GIRLS
(Same time as Anoush.)
Oh yes, your love came passing by,
His heard aflame with your love.
He came and passed, and now he’s gone.
Yes, he’s gone. He’s gone away.

ALL

Rivers flow beneath the mountains,
Rushing wildly over rocks.
Whose love weeps there in sad despair,
Softly, softly, all alone?

(The girls fill the jugs and sit around the spring, singing and merrily sprinkling water on each other.)

FIRST GIRL
The stream is cool; the sun is warm;
My lover’s heart still throbs for me.
He has my heart, and I have his,
And yet there is no hope for me.

SECOND GIRL (Teasing her.)
The sun shines, and your heart is warm,
Yet your pathway is full of stones.
Folks should have done something for you,
But no one cared. What can I do?

THIRD GIRL
I saw my love, so tall and straight,
Like a young oak, strong and great.
Can this be true? Can that be him,
Dreaming there beside the stream?

SECOND GIRL (Teasing her.)
Yes, that is he, your lover great.
Just like a tree, he’s tall and straight.
Much good is he beside that stream,
Wasting his time in a daydream!

ALL
Much good is he beside that stream,
Wasting his time in a daydream!

(The girls dance.)

 

FOURTH GIRL

My love has been working so hard,

In golden fields of wheat so dense.

Harvesting all under the sun,

Only to give to someone else.

SECOND GIRL (Teasing her.)

Go tell your love never again

To give his stack to anyone.

‘Tis better it stay in the fields,

Burning away under the sun.

ANOUSH’S MOTHER (offstage)
Anoush! Oh, my child, Anoush, come back home!
Where are you, Anoush?

(Realising it is late the girls pick up the jugs and start to leave. Anoush pretends to exit with them but stays behind.)

VILLAGE GIRLS
Rivers flow beneath the mountains,
Rushing wildly over rocks.
Whose love weeps there in sad despair,
Softly, softly, all alone?
Oh, cool waters, limpid waters,
Washing mountains in your haste.
Tell me, tell me, roaring river,
Did my love your waters taste?

(Girls exit.)  

ANOUSH  (Alone.)
Fate is calling, I know not where.
Under a spell I was born.

My heart a-tremble at its voice,

I feel so sad, so forlorn.
On mountains high you flow’rs so sweet,
My silent grief must you bear.
Your little eyes are full of tears.
Your hearts are black with despair.
Oh, lonesome flow’rs on mountains high
You grieve in vain all alone.
And likewise all, all lonely hearts
Are always dark and forlorn.
Fate is calling, I know not where.
Under a spell I was born.

SARO (offstage)
My heart with your love I cannot forswear.
I’m bound with the strands of your raven hair.

ANOUSH
Once the willow tree was a maiden fair;
She longed for her love, who no more did care.
And this lovelorn maid wept so much in pain,
A sad willow tree they say she became.
On waters and streams, while spreading her hair,
She still softly weeps, shiv’ring in despair,
And within her mind, one thought is deep set:

“How a lover could his own love forget!”

ANOUSH’S MOTHER (offstage)
Anoush! Oh, my child, Anoush, come back home!
Come back home. Come back home, Anoush!

(Anoush turns to exit.)

SARO (Coming in and stopping her)
No, Anoush, don’t go. Stay a little while.
Stay a little while.

ANOUSH (Same time as Saro.)
Oh please, let me go. My mother calls me home.

(Solo.)
No, I should go home. Oh, I must be mad!

You care not for me as I care for you.
I’m always the one to suffer and weep,
But you sing songs on the mountain steep.

(Same time as Saro.)
You have forgotten me for so long a time.
I’ve waited and waited for you all day long.
The day is now gone; yet I saw you not.

SARO (Same time as Anoush.)
Anoush, my Anoush!
No, Anoush, Anoush!

Anoush, Anoush!
Oh, my love.

ANOUSH  (Solo.)
How long did I cry? Now my eyes are dry.

ANOUSH’S MOTHER (offstage)

Anoush, have a heart! Oh, you reckless child!

Should a maiden roam the vales all alone?

The sky is so dark. Anoush, come home!

My child, my Anoush! Oh, my child, Anoush!

ANOUSH (Trying to leave as Saro holds her back.)

You don’t love me nor pity me.

You never care nor think of me.

I burn of grief, turn into fire.

My ardent heart soon will expire.

I dread to think of my sad fate,

If I once more thus lie in wait.

SARO
Ah, Anoush, Anoush. How can you, Anoush?
Sweet love, don’t you know?

Who bides in my soul when I sing my songs

Of joy or of woe?
Who’s my heart’s delight from morning to night,
Wherever I go?
Who lives in my dreams, as I roam the hills
And mountains above?
Who makes my heart sigh and die from desire
If not you, my love?
Ah, Anoush, Anoush!

Do not go, Anoush.

(Anoush, seduced, moves timidly toward Saro, who embraces her.)

(End of scene 2)

SCENE 3

(A typical Armenian village festival, celebrating Ascension Day in the hills and meadows.)

VILLAGERS  (Dancing and singing)
‘Tis Ascension Day! Merry month of May!
Springtime flow’rs bloom in a rich array,
Maidens dark and fair, all with hopeful thoughts,
Sing the Fortune Song as they draw their lots,


“Hampartsoom yay lah, yay lah jahn yay lah.” (see endnote4)
“Lav orér (see endnote5) yah lah, yay lah jahn yay lah.”


Songs and music rise high into the skies.
Maidens gather flow’rs; spring smiles in their eyes.
Maidens play with flow’rs, just like butterflies.


“Hampartsoom yay lah, yay lah jahn yay lah.
“Lav orér yay lah, yay lah jahn yay lah.”

(One of the men performs a dance, to the amusement of the villagers. Saro and Mossy enter, arm in arm.)

 (Song.)
MOSSY

I’ve left my sheep up in the hills.

SARO
Hey-ho!


MOSSY
Charmed by your grace, oh sweet maid.

SARO
Sweet maid.

MOSSY
Love fills my heart with throbs and thrills,

SARO
Hey-ho!


MOSSY
Beautiful maid, oh sweet maid.

SARO
Sweet maid.

MOSSY, SARO, and VILLAGERS
Flowers in bloom their perfume spread

Beneath your feet, where’er you tread.
Hey-ho, beautiful maid, hey-ho.

SARO (Solo.)

I cannot sleep, enchanting maid.

Lovesick am I with you, sweet maid.

(End of song.)

(Some of the men perform a shepherds’ dance. Two of the young men then begin to wrestle.)  

VILLAGERS (Encouraging the wrestlers.)
Start the fight, boys,

Start the fight! Fight! Fight!

What a sight! What a fine sight!

Hold tight, hold tight and fight!

Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!

Look! Karo falls down!

He must try to rise,

Try to rise, try hard!

He lost the prize!

Ha, ha, ha, ha!

(The villagers drag Saro and Mossy forward.)

Saro and Mossy, let us see you fight.

Don’t let us down.
Oh, please don’t refuse.
Start the fight, start the fight, start the fight,
Start the fight, boys!
Come on boys, come on boys, come on boys, come on boys,
Hurry up and fight!

MOSSY  (Calming down the excitement.)
Remember the law, so noble and wise,
That no man of worth should throw to the ground

His gallant foe in front of a crowd.

(Song.)
ANOUSH (coming in with her friends)
Oh, handsome boy,
Oh, shepherd boy,
Are you mine?
God knows full well,

The world as well,
You are mine.

VILLAGERS
God knows full well,

The world as well,
You are mine.

ANOUSH
He has dark hair,

Such a grand air;

He’s so fine.
Cares have I none,

When such a one

Is all mine.

VILLAGERS
Cares have I none,

When such a one

Is all mine.


“Hampartsoom yay lah, yay lah jahn yay lah.
“Lav orér yay lah, yay lah jahn yay lah.”

(Villagers dance.)

VILLAGE GIRLS (Waving the men away so as to begin their game of fortune telling. A ritual that is performed only among women.)

Come on boys, go away!

Time for us to draw our lots.

Off with you, go away.

Time for us to draw our lots.

Go, go away! Let us sing the Fortune Song.

(Instead of leaving Saro breaks into a new song. Anoush and the villagers join in and sing and dance.)

SARO
I saw you once, pretty girl.
You took my heart, naughty girl.
Ever since then, pretty girl,
I have no peace, naughty girl.

ANOUSH
I fell for you, handsome boy.
I suffer too, wicked boy.
I fell for you, handsome boy.
I suffer too, wicked boy.

VILLAGERS
Hey! Hey!

VILLAGE MEN
I saw you once, pretty girl.
You took my heart, naughty girl.
Ever since then, pretty girl,
I have no peace, naughty girl

(At the end of the dance the men exit chased by the girls who begin their ritual by dancing around a basket, throwing personal objects into it from which the lots will be drawn.)

FIRST GIRL
Let us draw out lots; see what the future brings.
To our lovers brave let us praise and sing.
“Hampartsoom yay lah, yay lah jahn yay lah.
Lav orér yay lah, yay lah jahn yay lah.”

VILLAGE GIRLS
“Hampartsoom yay lah, yay lah jahn yay lah.
Lav orér yay lah, yay lah jahn yay lah.”

SECOND GIRL  (Making a mock prediction.)
I’m a maiden who endures,
But my heart needs certain cures.
I will travel all around
Find a better love than yours.

(A little girl draws an object from the basket.)

ANOUSH

Whose lot is that?

(The third girl waves her hand).
That’s yours, my dear.

(General laughter.)

VILLAGE GIRLS
“Hampartsoom yay lah, yay lah jahn yay lah.
Lav orér yay lah, yay lah jahn yay lah.”

THIRD GIRL  (Pretending a prediction.)

Have you not slept, poor girl all night?

So pale are you, with cheeks so white.

If your true love finds you pretty,

I’ll stand aghast, quite out of sight.

(The little girl draws another object from the basket.)

Whose lot is that?

FOURTH GIRL
Mine, it’s mine, girls!

(General laughter.)

VILLAGE GIRLS
“Hampartsoom yay lah, yay lah jahn yay lah.
Lav orér yay lah, yay lah jahn yay lah.”

FOURTH GIRL (Same as the others.)
I’m not tender; I’m not shy!
A noisy whack I may apply!
Foolish boy, don’t talk so much.
You’ll end up with a black eye.

(The little girl draws another object from the basket.)


SECOND GIRL
Whose lot is that?

FIFTH GIRL
Mine! It’s mine, girls.

(General laughter.)

VILLAGE GIRLS
“Hampartsoom yay lah, yay lah jahn yay lah.
Lav orér yay lah, yay lah jahn yay lah.”

FIFTH GIRL (Suddenly haunted by a dreadful foreboding)
Oh, you lovely dark-haired girl,
Of high mountains, beware, girl.
To your lover death will come
From a bullet piercing his heart.

(The little girl draws an object belonging to Anoush. She turns pale.)

VILLAGE GIRLS (Suddenly downhearted.)
What dark, dreadful doom has come upon you,
Oh young hapless one, ill-fated Anoush?

ANOUSH (Overcome.)
Ah, fate is calling, is calling me.

(Sensing the change of ambience, the other villagers enter and slowly gather around the girls.)  

VILLAGERS  (Trying to comfort Anoush who weeps.)
It’s only a game. How can you believe?
They’re no more than mad, wicked, foolish words.
Do not break your heart for a crazy song.
Dance away your tears; sing the Fortune Song.

ANOUSH
Alas, now I know how hapless I am.
My dreams and my hopes forever are lost.
Unhappy in life I always will be;
For I have been cursed when I was a child.

(Same time as the villagers.)
Ah, fate is calling, calling me.
Ah, fate calls me now.

VILLAGERS (Same time as Anoush.)
They’re no more than mad, wicked, foolish words.
Do not break your heart for a crazy song.
Dance away your tears; sing the Fortune Song.

ANOUSH (Solo.)
One sad day, they say, when I was a child,
An old dervish came begging at out door.

He sang us a song, waited for reward,
But Nanni would not give him any gold.
“Away!” she exclaimed, “Away from out door!
You have scared my child. Get out of my sight!”
So the evil man put a curse on me,

That my life be spent full of sorrows deep.

The old beggar’s curse so harsh and unkind,

Today came to pass and sealed my fate.
I live in fear of what is to come.
What life has in store for me, I know not.

VILLAGERS  (In slow, melancholy tempo.)
“Hampartsoom yay lah, yay lah jahn yay lah.
Lav orér yay lah, yay lah jahn yay lah.”

(Mossy enters angry.)  

MOSSY
Why are you in tears? Have you lost your mind?
What makes you weep? Have you then no pride?
Enough now, Anoush. That’s not dignified.

ANOUSH (Same time as Mossy and the Villagers.)
The old beggar’s curse so harsh and unkind,
This day comes to pass and seals my sad fate.
Ah, my heart’s always dark and gloomy.
Ah, what life has in store for me,
I know not.

VILLAGERS (Same time as Anoush and Mossy.)
Anoush, ah, Anoush; cry no more, Anoush.
Ah, Anoush, ah, it’s a silly game.
Don’t weep anymore and cry your eyes out,
Don’t weep anymore and cry your eyes out.

MOSSY (Same time as Anoush and the Villagers.)
Come now, have you lost your mind?
Go, for it is dark. Do not make me mad.
Take the shortest way. Start off right away.
Go, for it is dark. Be off.
I tell you, be gone!
Come, Anoush, you should be at home.

(Solo.)
Go home right away! I tell you, be gone!

(Mossy exits as the daylight begins to fade.)  

ANOUSH (Disconsolate.)
On mountains high, you flow’rs so sweet,
You too my deep sorrow share.
Your little eyes are full of tears;
Your hearts are black with despair.

(Saro enters wondering what happened. Anoush sees him and swoons with a cry. Saro remains lost in amazement as the villagers stare at him in dismay.)

End of Act I

ACT II

Synopsis: the villagers gather to celebrate a wedding and, in the midst of the general merriment, Saro and Mossy agree to entertain the guests with a wrestling match. Saro is caught up in the excitement of the match, and when he sees that Anoush admires his prowess, he forgets the traditional rules and defeats Mossy. Mossy is enraged and vows revenge.

 (The guests gather for the wedding at the village elder’s residence. The bride and groom enter, and the guests take their places.)

VILLAGE ELDER
Today you’re all my honoured guests.
You’re free to speak. I won’t be mad!
Enjoy yourselves and feel at home!
We’ll laugh and sing and drink a lot.
Rejoice, dear friends, have a good time.
Today you’re all my honoured guests.
In our village,

Elders, children,

Shepherds, farmers,

Blushing maidens,

Bridegroom and bride
Here before us,

Rich men, poor men –

Have equal rights.

OHAN (Jokingly.)

‘Rich men, poor men have equal rights!’

(The guests laugh then the ask the village elder to open the ceremony with a traditional dance. The village elder dances.)

VILLAGE ELDER (After the dance.)
And you, Ohan, come forth.
And entertain us with your jokes,

Before out guests and make them laugh.

OHAN
Must I? All right, I will give in.
Hoping  I’ll not offend our priest

VILLAGE ELDER
Begin your song, brother Ohan.

VILLAGERS  (Urging him on.)
Tell us something, brother Ohan.
Tell us something, something naughty.
Tell us quickly, tell us now!

OHAN  (Sings a mock-song at the expense of the elder.)
Our village is ruled by an elder of rank.

VILLAGERS
My! Oh, my!

OHAN
He’s a very busy man, whew!!

VILLAGERS
My, my, my, my !

OHAN
He’s very kind.

VILLAGERS
My, my, my, my, my !

OHAN
And very rich.

VILLAGERS I
That’s a lie, lie, lie!

No, he’s not rich.

VILLAGERS II
Yes, he is!

VILLAGERS I
Oh no, what is money?
He’s not wealthy.

No! No!

VILLAGERS II
Yes!

VILLAGERS I
No!

VILLAGERS II (Same time as villagers I)
Yes he’s wealthy!

VILLAGERS I (Same time as villagers II)
He’s not wealthy!

OHAN
He keeps us all within his control
Because he has a lot of gold.
If you decline to pay your debt,
What follows next you won’t forget.

VILLAGERS (Teasing the elder)
If you decline to pay your debt,
What follows next you won’t forget.

(Everyone laughs and applauds, including the elder.)

BEST MAN (To the elder.)
May I speak now, honoured host?

VILLAGE ELDER
Take your glass now and make your toast.

BEST MAN
Here’s to our couple, so happy, so proud,
So finely adorned. Let’s toast them aloud!
Our lovely bride wears a charming white dress,
With tresses adorned just like a princess.

To joy!

VILLAGERS AND BEST MAN
Live long and rejoice
Ever side by side!

To joy!

Live long and rejoice
Ever side by side!

VILLAGERS  (Bringing the bride forward.)
Make room for the bride.
Let us see her dance.
Make room for the bride to dance,

Come!
Let us see her dance,

Come!

(The bride dances. Applause, congratulations. The shepherds arrive with gifts. Saro and Mossy enter with them. The Village Elder offers them wine.)  

SARO (Raising his glass and offering a song of love to the newlyweds.)
Arise, sweet love, it’s early dawn.
I lead my sheep by your home.
Splash your black eyes with water cold.
Step softly out of your door.
If your parents turns me away,
Tell me, what can I ever do?
I’ll no doubt abduct you, my love.
Wait till winter’s snow is through.
We're shepherd boys, we're mountain boys,
And so we roam on hills above
In loneliness, far from all joys,
So far away from our love
We'd give our life just to see her,
To see our love just once more.

(Applause. General approval.)

 

(The shepherds dance.)

 

VILLAGE ELDER (After the dance, to Saro and Mossy)
Since you two are such hearty friends,
And both enjoy everyone's love,
I bid you start a wrestling match.
Show us the strength of your arms.
Let's judge and see who's the strongest man.

(Saro and Mossy laughingly decline.)

VILLAGERS (Urging them.)
Oh yes, dear Mossy, let's see a good fight.
Make way! Stand aside for a wrestling game.

Saro and Mossy, fight well for your names.

VILLAGERS I
He looks tempted and excited.
His eyes glitter with delight.

VILLAGERS II
He is well known for his courage.
Saro truly is a hero.

VILLAGERS I
Come on, Mossy, start the fight.


VILLAGERS II
Come on, Saro, start the fight.

ALL

Show us the strength
Of your arms, ah!

 

VILLAGE ELDER (Same time as the villagers.)
You don't deserve our good wine.
Come, be serious now; don't let us down.
Oh come, Mossy, you're making fun.
Let's see the strength of your arms.
Take him on; come on and fight.

VILLAGERS (Same time as the village Elder.)
Take him on, take him on!
Ah, Anoush, do not fear!
Come on and fight and fight.
Fight! Make way, make way for the fight!
That's right, boys!

ALL
Take him on, Take him on!
Take him on! Come forth and fight.

 

(Saro and Mossy finally give in. They start wrestling in a good-natured, half-serious way.)

 

VILLAGERS (Excited.)

Make way for the fight. That's right.
That's the spirit, that's the spirit we admire.
Strive to win it, strive to win it, win the fight.
Fight, fight!
Strike, strike, and strike.

Hold tight, hold tight
And fight. Strike him! Strike your rival!
Hey, hey, take him on!

(The game becomes more serious)

Ah, ah, come on, fight!
That's right!

(Suddenly Saro notices Anoush in the crowd watching him anxiously. His love for her goes to his head. Forgetting all traditional codes of honour, he suddenly pushes Mossy to the ground to show off his manly valour. Mossy falls taken completely by surprise.)

VILLAGERS (Frenzied.)
He fell! His back touched the ground!
He fell! He has lost!
Ha, ha, ha!

(Saro still holds Mossy’s shoulders to the ground)

 

VILLAGE ELDER (Same time as the villagers.)
You're not beaten, you're not beaten
He has cheated. You're not beaten.

 

VILLAGERS (Same time as the elder.)
He lost the game.
He is beaten.
Yes, yes, yes, yes, he is beaten.
Ha, ha, ha!

ALL
Oh, shame, shame Mossy you're mocked and disgraced!

 

MOSSY (Finally disengaging himself and standing up, furious.)
Oh no, let him come once more.
If not, this I swear!

You shall pay Saro.

You never shall escape
Vengeance from my hand.

(He launches out against Saro. Some villagers hold him back.)

SARO (Moving forward, still in a state of drunk excitement.)
If that's what you want, come!

Let's fight again.
Come! Let's fight again!

ANOUSH (Same time as Saro.)
Stop, Mossy!

Stay away Saro!
Ah!

Don't let them fight again, ah!

VILLAGE ELDER (Same time as Saro and Anoush. Enjoying the moment.)
It's true, fair is fair.
Start the fight again.

MOSSY (Same time as Saro, Anoush and the elder.)
He has betrayed me. He hasn't floored me.
Oh no, let him charge once more.
Tackle me again! Tackle me again!
Come, you rogue, come.
Come, you knave, you shall never get away.

VILLAGERS (Same time as the above.)
Mossy, check yourself.
No, no, we'll not let you fight again.

 

(The villagers try to reconcile Saro and Mossy.)

 

VILLAGERS (Trying to cheer up the party)
Strike up a merry, merry tune,
Let us dance!

Strike up a merry, merry tune;
Let us dance!
Hey-ho, hey-ho!

 

(The villagers begin to dance(see endnote6).  The elder, Ohan and others try to reason Mossy and Saro. They hand them glasses of wine and urge them to drink to each other’s health and forget the matter. Saro, humbled, approaches Mossy extending his glass. Mossy looks at him darkly, and then slowly pours his wine on the ground as a sign of enmity and leaves enraged. Sobered up, Saro remains motionless in despair. The villagers continue to dance in the background.)

End of act II

ACT III

Synopsis: Mossy refuses to forgive Saro for humiliating him in the wrestling match, and although Anoush at first promises him to give Saro up, when he comes to get her she runs away with him. Meanwhile, Mossy sets fire to Saro’s haystack(see endnote7).. Some months later, Saro, knowing that Mossy is intending to kill him, waits for Anoush to return from the village where she has gone to seek reconciliation. Mossy finds Saro and shoots him dead. After his body is discovered, Anoush goes mad with grief and flings herself to her death.

SCENE I

(After the wedding. Mossy is alone before the family tent.)

MOSSY
Before that night, that fateful night,
We still were friends, brotherly friends.
Days of youthful fun

Are forever gone.
Poisoned is my heart.

Ah! Cry; oh cry out loud, my heart! Cry!
You’re my deadly foe, treacherous Saro.
May from heaven thunder strike you!
Oh God, open wide the earth.
Let him perish evermore.
Put an end forever to your love for Anoush,
Or my thirsty blade will cut it out of your vile heart.

(Anoush enters and hides.)

Oh, shame, shame, Mossy! You’re mocked and disgraced.
Oh shame to your name, once so loved and praised.
Not once had your back ever touched the ground.
Oh, why did you fall?Where was all your might?
How did you end up under Saro’s knee

Right beforethe eyes of the village folk?

Oh!Never had you been so disgraced before.
Never had you been so slighted before.
Go! Retire from sight. Go enter the ground.
Vanish from the earth. You have friends no more.
Oh shame, shame, Mossy.

You’re mocked and disgraced! Ah!

(Mossy notices Anoush and runs toward her with his dagger drawn.)

ANOUSH
Alas, dear Mossy, spare me! Spare my heart!
Don’t you see how scared, how dismayed I am?

(Same time as Mossy)
I am dust at your feet, Mossy, dear Mossy.
I’m only a slave, begging on my knees.
No longer will I dare to love Saro.
Do you not see how I implore your grace?

MOSSY (Same time as Anoush)
In my name then, swear and assure my heart,
That you’ll never see Saro anymore.
If not, this I swear; beware my revenge!
Yes, beware my wrath!

(Solo)
How can you pretend you love him no more?
How can you pretend, when I hear your voice
In the dark of night weeping all alone, weeping all alone?
And when in your dreams I hear you cry out,
“Saro, dear Saro! Dearest Saro!”

(Same time as Anoush)

“Saro, dear Saro,

Oh dearest Saro!”

ANOUSH (Same time as Mossy)
Mossy, dear Mossy,
Sweet brother of mine!

(Solo)
Don’t break your heart. Forgive and forget.
No more will I love if that is your wish.
No more will I call his name in my dreams.
Don’t break your heart. Do not grieve and sigh.
Am I not Anoush, and you my Mossy?

MOSSY (To himself)
How could Saro betray me so?
How could my friend become my foe?
Oh why, oh why, did you betray me?
Oh why, oh why, Saro?
Oh God, oh God, soothe my heart.

(Mossy runs out infuriated.)

ANOUSH (Alone)
Sleep forever, hopeless love.

Sleep forever, sigh no more.
Mossy separated us;

Doomed are wefor evermore.

(Saro enters and slowly approaches Anoush.)

SARO (Same time as Anoush)
No, no, Anoush, cry no more.
Our love shall live evermore.
No, no, Anoush, cry no more.
Our love shall live evermore.

ANOUSH (Same time as Saro)
Lie low, joyous days of yore;
Sleep, oh sleep, for evermore.
Lie low, joyous days of yore;
Sleep, oh sleep, for evermore.

TOGETHER (Melancholically remembering happier days)
Hampartsoom yay lah, yay lah jahn yay lah.
Lav orér yay lah, yay lah jahn yay lah.

SARO (Suddenly deciding)
Anoush, my love, let’s run away.

ANOUSH (Making up her mind)
Where’er you go, Saro, I’ll come.

SARO and ANOUSH
When springtime comes,
Birds will fly home.
Flowers will bloom in the sun.
The sheep will climb towards the hills.
Once more they will browse the fields.
High upon the hills, with songs of joy,
All shepherd boys will climb the hills to the top.

ANOUSH
I’ll be with you, you’ll be with me,
As we pass through hills and vales.
Oh, what joy! Oh joy! Oh joy! Oh, what joy!
Wait till winter’s snow is through.

SARO
Since our love provokes such hatred,
What else can we ever do?
But to simply run away, oh sweet love.
Let’s not wait till night is through.

ANOUSH (Same time as Saro)
I’ll be with you, you’ll be with me,
As we pass through hills and vales.
Oh, what joy! Oh joy! Oh joy! Oh, what joy!
Wait till winter’s snow is through.

SARO (Same time as Anoush)
Since our love provokes such hatred,
What else can we ever do?
But to simply run away, oh sweet love.
Let’s not wait till night is through.

SARO
We may sleep in open air,
Or find refuge in the caves.

SARO and ANOUSH
Climbing up the hills at dawn,
Sleeping as the sun goes down.

VILLAGE WATCHMAN (from afar)
Hey, hey!

(Anoush rushes back into the tent and Saro hides.)

SARO (After a while, making sure no one is coming their way)
Anoush! Come out, quick!
Anoush let us go!

(Anoush coming fearfully out of the tent.)

ANOUSH
Saro! Saro, I’m so scared.
Mossy’s not here.
Where is he? Where has he gone?

SARO
Do not fear, Anoush!
Come! Let us depart.
Make haste! Come with me.

ANOUSH
Saro, Mossy’s not here. Ah!

SARO
Do not fear, Anoush!
Come along.
Give me quick your hand. Oh, come.

ANOUSH
Ah.

SARO
Come, Anoush.

Give me your hand and come.

TOGETHER
Let’s run; let’s run away.

(Saro and Anoush exit)

(Mossy enters, having just set fire to Saro’s haystack.)(see endnote8)

MOSSY(see endnote9)


Now burn, and burn to the last crop.
Ha, ha, ha, ha!

(Mossy looks into the tent and sees that Anoush is gone.)

My friends make haste!
Have you seen Anoush!

(The villagers and Anoush’s Mother enter. She is greatly distressed.)

MOSSY and VILLAGE MEN
Hey, hey, hey, hey!

ANOUSH’S MOTHER
Oh God, there’s no trace of her!
My Anoush is gone.
Ah, ah, Mossy, Anoush has disappeared.

VILLAGE GIRLS
Anoush is not here. Alas, Mossy.

MOSSY
Hey, hey, hey, hey!
My sister is gone! Oh, where is Anoush?
Hey, hey, my sister is gone! Oh, where is Anoush?
Hey, hey!

VILLAGERS
Where has Anoush gone, away from her home?
Hey, hey!

[The following scene was cut from the MOT production]

(Ohan runs in)

OHAN

Listen to me. Let me reveal what I have witnessed tonight.

VILLAGERS
Brother Ohan, tell us what you have seen.

OHAN
Late in the night, our friend Mossy
slipped like a thief out of doors.

MOSSY
Shut up, you old fool.
Do not make up lies!

OHAN
I tell what I’ve seen.

VILLAGERS
Come now, Mossy, let him speak.

VILLAGE ELDER
Come now, Mossy, let him speak.
Maybe Saro has burnt his stack
Just to snatch Anoush away.

OHAN
I told myself, “This looks suspect.
Where is he going in the night?”
As soon as I saw him leaving,
I started to follow him.
He was running like a reindeer.
I slowed down; I fell behind.
But when I approached the village,
I saw the sky all-aglow.
I raised my voice; “Hello,” I called.
It was Saro’s stack all in flames,
Saro’s stack in flames. Saro’s stack in flames.

VILLAGERS
Saro’s stack was burning away.

VILLAGE ELDER
Saro has put his stack to fire.
Ha, ha! He has burnt his stack!

VILLAGERS
He burnt his stack! Hey, hey, Saro!

MOSSY
Saro has put his stack to fire;
Then he has snatched Anoush away.
Revenge! Oh, revenge, revenge! Hey, hey!

[End of cut.]

OHAN and VILLAGERS
Hey, night watch! Oh night watch!
Relate whatever you saw tonight.
Oh night watch; relate

What you have witnessed tonight.
Tell us quick! Tell us quick.
What have you witnessed tonight?

Speak up! Speak up!

WATCHMAN
It was right in the middle of the night.
Ay, it was in the middle of the night.
Suddenly my dog barked aloud with rage.
“Ho there,” I called out; there came no reply.
Then the dog went mad, jumped about with rage,
As two human forms swiftly ran away
To the hills above!

(Mossy rushes wildly into the tent)

VILLAGERS
Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey!
Oh, shame to Saro, Saro and Anoush.
Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey!
How could they give rise to such disgrace?
How could Saro, oh, how could he run away?
Hey, hey, how could Saro,
Oh how could he snatch Anoush away?

MOSSY (Coming out of the tent with a rifle in his hand)
I swear in God’s name

To punish them both.
Wherever they be,

I’ll find their abode,
And Saro shall pay

This crime with his life.
Ah! Ah!

(Same time as the villagers)


Revenge, revenge!

VILLAGERS (Same time as Mossy)
Oh, shame to Saro, Saro and Anoush!
Oh, shame to Saro, Saro and Anoush!

Hey, hey!

(Mossy exits as the villagers reproach Saro and Anoush.)

(End of Scene I)

SCENE 2

(In the mountains of Lori, Saro is roaming about alone as he waits for Anoush.)

SARO
Oh, mountains high, mountains high,
Hear my cry of despair.
Echo my grief and my woe;
Come! Soothe my heart, mountains high.

I am denied of all grace.
Gladly would I death embrace.
Let me abide in your caves
And disappear with no trace.

I roam the hills far away,
Wand’ring alone in dismay.
I have one wish in my heart—
That I may not end this day.

Ah, I would die, but I fear
That if my love ever hears,
While I’d be free of my woes,
She would be forsaken in tears.

(Mossy enters and aims at Saro. He waits till Saro turns and faces him then shoots. Saro falls, mortally wounded. Mossy looks gloomily at his body and slowly goes out. The villagers enter and gather around the body.)

VILLAGERS
Hey, hey, what horror!
Mossy has shot Saro.
Hey, Saro is dead.
Alas!

Hey, Mossy has killed Saro,

Ill-fated Saro!
Hey, hey, Mossy has killed Saro.
Alas, what a woeful, tragic day,
Ill-fated Saro!

SARO’S MOTHER (Running in)

Saro!!

(She throws herself on Saro’s body)
Fallen like a fading star;
Fallen like an autumn leaf,

Saro! Saro! Saro!
The sun has set, wretched boy,
Deep is my wound, cruel boy.
Oh, why won’t you speak?
Oh, why won’t you move?
Open up your eyes,

Answer to my sighs.


Come, reply, my son.

Tell me why, my son.
Why, why, oh why?
Why have you robbed me

Of my only joy?
Why?

Alas!

(Same time as the villagers)
Ah, woe, my ill-fated son.
Alas, oh you treach’rous son.

Ah, Saro!Woe!

VILLAGERS (Same time as Saro’s mother)
Alas, woe! Your love is left but to cry.

ALL

The trees and flow’rs silently spread
An incense rare of sweet smell.
Rivers will roar as if to chant,
Alas! A howling song of farewell.
Woe, woe, woe, woe!

(Saro’s shepherd friends raise his body and carry it away.)

VILLAGERS
The trees and flow’rs silently spread
A rare incense of sweet smell.
The trees and flow’rs silently spread
A rare incense of sweet smell.
Woe, woe, woe, woe!
Rivers will roar as if to chant
One last song of farewell.
Woeful Saro, alas Saro!
Oh, brave Saro, alas, alas!

(The crowd exits sadly.)

(End of scene II) (see endnote10)

SCENE III

(The same scene, darkened. Anoush, delirious, wanders in the hills with her clothing torn.)

ANOUSH
Oh come, come back home,
Return to your love!
Must I always sigh?
Reply, sweet my love.
The sheep in the fields—
Leave them, set them free.
By night run away.
Come home, come to me.
Oh run, run away.
Come home, come to me.
Upon the green, steep mountainside,
Who is that boy laying still?
A long black cloak is drawn o’er him.
Is he perhaps sleeping still?
It’s my sweetheart, my only love.
Drunk with mountains’ fragrant flowers,
He slumbers there beside the spring,
Lie low, lie low, my Saro.
Arise, my brave one.
Wake up, shepherd boy.
Bring the sheep back home;
The day is now gone.
Oh, come! How I yearn
And crave your return,
My love to restore.
Torture me no more!

[At this point an entire scene and a new character were cut from the MOT production. It is a scene between Anoush and a wandering traveler asking her the reason of her distress. He then philosophically comforts her and goes his way. The musical theme is similar to Saro’s wedding scene Aria “Arise sweet love”.]

(Anoush, still delirious, hears voices in the hills)

VOICES (off stage)
Rivers flow beneath the mountains,
Rushing wildly over rocks
Whose love weeps there in sad despair,
Softly, softly, all alone?
Alas, Anoush, you mountains flower.
Alas to your only love.
Alas, your long and perfumed hair.
Alas, your deep and sad eyes.

ANOUSH
Ah, how suddenly everything has changed.
All things in my life are empty and void.
Mountains stand alone, barren and ignored,
With the shepherd boy, gone so far away.
Oh my shepherd boy let me die with you.
Oh, come, come back home,
Return to your love.
Must I always sigh?
Reply, my sweet love!

(Same time as the voices)

The sheep in the fields—
Leave them, set them free.
By night run away.
Come home, come to me.

VOICES (Same time as Anoush above)
Anoush, come, come with us.
Anoush let us go.
Anoush, come, come with us.
Ah, Anoush, Anoush.
Anoush, come with us.
Anoush, come, Anoush.
Anoush!

ANOUSH (Hallucinating)
Look, can you see?
There’s a wedding.
Men are playing fife and drum.
They seem happy, yet it’s snowing.
How strange! They are having fun.
They seem happy, yet it’s snowing.
How strange! They are having fun.
Girls, oh girls, oh, come,and to you

My strange vision I’ll confide.
Who has ever seen a wedding
With no bridegroom and no bride?

Who has ever seen a wedding
With no bridegroom and no bride?
They carry my love and bring him to me.
Let them put him down and leave him to me.
Don’t take him away. Let me come with you.
Bury me alive with him in his grave.
Don’t take him away.

Don’t take him away.
Don’t take him away.
Ah, ah!

THE VOICE OF ANOUSH’S MOTHER (offstage)
Anoush, come back home.
Where are you, my child?

ANOUSH
I won’t come, Nanni.
Nanni, wait no more.

(Same time as the voices)
Saro calls me from afar.
Saro, here I come.

VOICES (Same time as Anoush)
See, the river gushing, voush, voush.
Currents rushing, dashing forth.
It is calling voush, voush, voush.
Come, sweet Anoush, let us take you to your love.
Voush, voush, voush.
Voush, voush, Anoush; voush, voush, sweet maid.
Alas to love; woeful your fate.

ANOUSH (Climbing higher and higher towards an imaginary Saro)
Through cold rushing streams,
Passing through the clouds,
All with flow’rs adorned.
Saro, sweet Saro,
I will join my love.

(She reaches the edge of a precipice)


Ah!!!

(Anoush falls – or throws herself – to her death.)

VOICES IN THE HILLS
Voush, voush, voush!

END OF OPERA

Copyright ©Gerald PAPASIAN 1981

New Copyright ©Gerald PAPASIAN 2006

No reproduction of this text is permitted. Performance rights must be secured for any performance.

(endnote 1) The original is divided into five acts and seven scenes. For the MICHIGAN OPERA THEATRE production act I (scenes 1 & 2) and II were combined into ACT I. The original act III became act II. Act IV and act V (scenes 1 & 2)  became act III

(endnote 2) Alas

(endnote 3) Mother

(endnote 4) Yaylah: literally ‘Meadow’. Here used as an exclamation of joy. “Ascension Day! Hey! Hey!!”

(endnote 5) Happy days! Pronounced “Love orair”

(endnote 6) This is a change made on the occasion of the Michigan Opera Theatre production. In the original the act does not end with a dance.

(endnote 7) Fire scene cut in the MOT production.

(endnote 8) This scene was cut from the MOT production.

(endnote 9) Cut from the MOT production.

(endnote 10) In the MOT production scenes II and III


The Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
© Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance, 2012. All rights reserved.

No reproduction of this text is permitted. Performance rights must be secured for any performance.