Benjamin Pesetsky composer and writer

Love Redux

Scene for Mezzo-soprano, Tenor, and Piano

2012 | libretto by Hannah Moscovitch | 4 minutes 30 seconds

Love Redux is an opera scene about Helen of Troy and Paris behind closed doors in a hotel room. It was written at Tapestry Opera’s Composer-Librettist Laboratory in Toronto and premiered at Tapestry Briefs, a staged showcase of opera shorts.

One of the best episodes was Moscovitch and Pesetsky’s Love Redux, a look at Helen of Troy and Paris some time into their relationship, when her ardour doesn’t quite match his.

NOW Magazine

Libretto by Hannah Moscovitch

HELEN and PARIS are in a hotel room.
A shabby hotel room because they’re the most romantic.
PARIS is smoking a cigarette, post-coital.

PARIS
Helen
I whisper your name like a prayer
Helen
I think of you every cigarette I smoke
And I’m smoking two packs a day in these fast fevered days of loving you.

HELEN
You should quit smoking.

PARIS
Helen
Your love chokes me gently
Rolls me over
Quenches me
It’s a madness that comes over me and makes the future go dark
Let’s scorn the old Gods
You are my church.

HELEN
Two packs of cigarettes a day is too many.

PARIS
Helen
Leave your husband and let’s buy an RV
We’ll live in the wilderness and eat canned soup.
Your husband’s a brute bathed in war’s black blood
But I’m a splendid boy
A slender splendid boy who loves you madly.

HELEN
That’s nice
What you feel is a flicker

PARIS
A flame!

HELEN
But love’s a routine
Like nicotine
A dull humming in your brain.

PARIS
Love is God
Love is prayer.

HELEN
A prayer?
Or a cold catechism?
Love is the word that beats into you and wears you down until one day you look with dead eyes at the person across from you and you know with certainty that you love them unto death.

HELEN gets out of bed and exits to the bathroom.
PARIS butts out his cigarette.

Benjamin Pesetsky composer and writer