Love Redux Scene for Mezzo-soprano (Helen), Tenor (Paris), and Piano

2012 | libretto by Hannah Moscovitch | 4 min 30 sec

Love Redux was written at Tapestry Opera’s Composer-Librettist Laboratory in Toronto.


Krista River, mezzo-soprano | Charles Blandy, tenor | John McDonald, piano


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


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
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.