I PLAYED, I DANCED Kalniņš – Latvian National Opera and Ballet

I PLAYED, I DANCED Kalniņš – Latvian National Opera and Ballet


I cannot stay, I need to go. Laima draped me in a shawl to go out. I was to walk the path I did not walk
when young. I was to heed the mother I did not see
when I was young. Dancing and leaping we cross, by the cross this room was built. Dancing my wreath fell, lovingly a countryman retrieved it. God wins, God wins, and pulls the Devil’s children down. The devils win, the devils win, we kidnap
the bride. Hold on, God’s children, to the rays of the sun. I’ll wander my sister’s wedding drunk: all that will remain of my shoes are the laces. God wins, gripping an apple blossom. Hold on, God’s children, to the rays of
the sun. Oh dear, the towel has torn! May the thread of life not be torn! Mother, why do you say such things? See, we’ll join hands, we won’t be separated! To God’s ear! All in one garden, forming a circle. People of the hills and of the valleys have all come together. From beyond the woods and marsh, they come crawling out. All the furrows buzz like busy bees. Forthwith, straightaway, the dancers will dance. Some in slippers, some in socks, some with bare feet. Who’s folk are you? Whither? We’re but happy wanderers. Children of sand, brothers of wind, come to see the wedding. Blind I am in this world, in the netherworld
I see all. I see demons tearing you, stomping the ground of Hell. Who’re you? Have you an invitation? Invitation? Your invitation! Written on my back: read it, I’ll show you. Tomorrow I’ll write you another! Boss, do it today, for tomorrow you’ll write no more! Hag, witch, what are you blathering about? In the smoke, there, I see – tomorrow you’ll be branded, your skin will be hung to dry in the red swelter! Read mine, too, old woman! I cannot say, I am afraid! The smoke does not want to rise! The smoke does not want to rise! Frigid cold, numbing numbness! Frigid cold, numbing numbness! Tell me! There was barley which became malt,
from malt into beer. She was a girl, became a wife, and from wife into mother. Who set free those golden butterflies about the room? From where do those sweet breezes blow? Player, who are you? Born where? Why so sad? I would not wed if mother had not. Where was I born? Who knows. Only one thing for sure I know – I was wronged by being born. A life born of hardship. Only by luck was I born with this gift. Bitterness is your daily life, honey’s sweetness is your song! Play! I beg! The bee of song stings deeply! The heart leaps from its place… Play! I am not afraid of you! I played, I danced all through the night, All through the night with one lovely girl. T’was not yet midnight and the song was cut short. Why was the song cut short? Song, song, where are you my song? Where are you my song? The girl begins to cry. Play! Play! I don’t have peace! Don’t cry, don’t cry, my dear girl, My dear girl, I’ll buy you a new one! Oh, joy, of course! I’ll buy you a new one! Zemgus, why are sulking? Laugh!
– Now I must laugh… Laugh! Laugh! What’s next? What’s next? Dancing? Are your shoes already worn! Are your legs worn out? Stand in the middle, revelers! Zemgus, come! Player, play! Fiddles are screetching, pipes are braying! Tho my fiddle screeches,
so you dance beautifully. Tho the pipes bray loudly,
so you laugh louder. Your song! My song… That’s all I have, no more is written. Come along to write more! Lelde! Lelde! Zemgus! Let’s dance! Control your merriment, daughter! The mother of merriment laughs briefly. Well, Zemgus! What should I fear? Dancing and leaping we cross,
by the cross this room was built. I’ll wander my sister’s wedding drunk. all that remained of my shoes were the laces. When I go to lead the dance,
I don’t need a player! My feet kept the rhythm,
my lips played the pipe! I cannot stay, I need to go. Laima draped me in a shawl to go out. I played, I danced all through the night. The fires wane and start to smoke as if the air was pressing them down. As if a breeze was blowing from the door. By the door pale sparks appear in the air. Whose cold grip pulls me by the wrist? Who makes me dance around like this? All alone in this room? Oh, by the neck… What was that? Who goes there? What is wrong with her? Zemgus, look, what’s on her neck? Is that not a drop? Blood? Blood? The old Lord! All my strings broke for that beautiful girl. – One that’s dead, is truly dead!
– I’ve one golden string left. Mist, clouds… The sun rose: Through mist, o’er clouds you came.
Girl, twinkle in your eye! Ha ha! You want it cheap! It’s none of your business! It’s mine! Take her! If only she was alive! I will! Give me the coffin, quickly! Can she really not be roused? – No. A chapel in the cemetery. Dark. A tiny sliver of yellow flame, barely visible – a coffin placed on a low table. I went over the hills and through the valleys and found my love. Already lying for the funeral. I clapped my hands, yelled, Dear me! My friend! My dear friend! How can I be alone now? Give me a pike, dig me a hole, twice as deep. Twice as wide, for two to lie together. For me and my dear friend to lie together! To live… to live… Did you say something? To live life… Alas! No one is able to make you live! Can’t bring to life… Let me sleep. I won’t let you! Won’t let go… The evil will take us both! Evil won’t take you. Why are you bothering the spirits, now my Lelde is quiet! Quiet to you, but she’ll talk to me! Whatever you can, so can I. We were born of the same wind. Not all those born of wind can harness it! Well then, make her live! – Let her go! – You’ll take her? Then none shall!
– Then let her die ? Let her die! Mother Earth! Give her back to me! Don’t lock the black gates of eternity! I’ve lost the key! All flowers bloom in the sun, don’t hide this one in the underworld! The loveliest of all flowers! Mother Earth, mother mine, wake, answer me! Give back this precious life! Mother Earth, sleeping,
do you no longer recognize who mills your rye, who carries your crown? Mother Earth! Your ears have gone deaf, you’ve become old! Hear me! Don’t call her an old hag! The earth is forever beautiful. Lelde is the most beautiful! I’ll fill the world with such songs mockers, taunters!
Laughingly they’ll sing them all! Hush! We are all the voices of the earth. In a narrow crevice I sing at night, in the dark. A rooster in his morning coop, forever a player in this world. Forever a player in this world. All our happiness in his songs. But your song is coarse. I, the mole cricket, will give you new strings made of roots. Do not tarry on the surface long! Crawl into the earth’s crevice, anon! Together we will play! Listen! He crouches to the ground, strings his kokle with the root. Mother root, father stone, the rustling leaves – my sisters. Listen! Listen! Player, listen! Don’t forget the voices of decay crunching underfoot! The dead have risen and are speaking. Every speck of dust once formed a beating heart. Small sparks start to leap in the bushes and over the graves. Souls are drifting, spirits are glimmering. All the world’s forgotten are looking to be heard. A light dust drifts up from the headstones reaching for Tots. Player, halt! Player, listen! He doesn’t listen and walks on. Hands and feet reach out from the graves. Torn, scattered limbs scattered across the path, reaped from the field of battle. Player, halt! Player, listen! He walks on. Black birds rush toward him like shadows, broad wings, owls, eagle-owls, nighthawks. Long-stemmed flowers
burst forth from the soil. The graves start to open, the dead raise their heads and howl. Who is groaning and moaning? Why have they stopped me? Decaying scraps, corpses? What is rustling underfoot… Once formed a beating heart… They wish to be heard! A neverending row of the dead emerges and walks by both in armour and in clothes. Player, you go to raise but one. Where we stay, those others? Forgotten, unmourned, a hundred lives did spend. How can I possibly help so many?
Your bodies are ruined. Your decaying flesh mixed together,
even your shadows melded I can’t tell where one ends and the other starts. Bags of ashes – who can raise the living from that? We’ve fought til exhausted. Final peace – that is what we want. Don’t let our rest be disturbed by the footsteps of the living. We’ll live as spirits without bodies, as spirits we’ll help you! The nation will be twice as strong! Let’s go, my corpse brothers! The living and the dead go together! Take the handful of decay! Save yourself and the rest! Go, now you can go! Go and make the Candle of the Dead! I’m going! The Lord should be here somewhere! Sarcophagi should be cold, but this one is somewhat warm! The silver nails have condensation on their heads! He’s had his fill of warm blood.
He won’t grow cold. It’s not comfortable lying next to such a large belly. Black clothes wet with blood his every breath is deadly. Midnight! Listen! The corpse is moving! The stove fires of three threshing barns. How they glow like three droplets of hot, young, red blood. He’s drunk! Had his fill of blood, intoxicated and giddy! Who comes to disturb the ghosts at the midnight hour? The ghost is I, as are you… It’s good that you are dead, else I would have crushed you! Who are you? How did you get here? I was laid next to you. When did you die? Without me knowing of it? – Just now. – When was your funeral?
– Who would mourn me? Just… – But where’s your grave?
– Who would dig me one? I was told: go to hell! So I came here to you. Yes, I’m the devil! Yet much more – how I torment, suck blood. Lord, were you not at the wedding? – Ha ha! The wedding…
– Did you drink blood? – I mustn’t say!
– I know everything. Remember, I’m dead:
you danced with a young girl, bit her neck? Did you drink her blood? Right, you’re dead, so you know all!
Now there can be no doubt! – You satan, blood monster!
– Curse me! She was a fine girl! Full of blood, young, delicious! I drank three large drops, It burns in my bones!
– Damn you! May the demon take you! Don’t speak of the demon! He’s a pagan –
I fear him! Curses: Beelzebub or Satan. The demon’s a pagan, him I fear! How can the ones you drain can be saved? It’s not easy! You have to retrieve the drained blood. How do I do that? – I mustn’t say! You’re bluffing! It’s impossible
to save those who’ve been drained! They can be saved! You just need a Candle of the Dead! There’ll be some in the devil’s manor. Stay put! We’ll go together! ‘Tis my first night in the graveyard. I can’t go dancing. True, true, you know! It’s forbidden, but I have influence! I’d even bring the girl, whose blood I drank tonight. I’d even let you dance with her.
Here, servant! Lord, I’m here! – Help me prepare for the ball! Lord, who is this? – The Player. – He’s alive! Fool, can’t you see? He’s dead! – My Lord, he’s… – Put leeches on my eyebrows! A snake around my neck! That bone there fell out of my foot. Put it back! – Alive! He’s alive!
– He’s still fresh, he just died tonight. Better let us tear him apart! If he’s alive, he’ll die anyway! If he’s dead, no harm done! True, better safe than sorry. Come here, let’s tear you apart! Fools! My body is cold, hard as iron. Then let me squeeze your hand! – Is it stiff?
– Like iron! – Here, now it’s my turn!
– Oh dear! Let me go! Satan! Now me! It’s broken! – Am I dead? – Very dead!
– Deader than the rest! Servant, arrange my bones! They scattered when my hand was squeezed… My hand is broken… Pick up those pieces! Give them here! Let’s go, Player! I have no desire to see such minor demons! The Three-headed Demon King himself will be there with his court! The Three-headed Demon King will be there! Let him go along! The Old Devil will tell if he’s dead or not. The Old Devil will tell if he’s dead or not! Lizardbreath! Sniffler! Nooseneck! Strangler! Roughneck! Heart-thesher! Witch’s hearth! Snake sausages! It’s full… stinks! Bad evening to you! The Devil curse you! Who is this? What is he shouting about? What did he wish me? A bad evening? What would you rather I say? Good evening? Where’s Lelde? Let’s dance! No such Lelde here, is not allowed! Here’s a harem for you! Look, look, look over here, who is this? His hands are so soft. Is he dead? Is he a devil? Look! A dead man in the front, a devil in the back. And a player in the middle. You want to kiss? Which end? Newlydead? Come here!
Pegleg is calling for you! – Let him come here!
– Who brought this one? The fat Lord, who’s sleeping over there! Be still! You may not move when Pegleg speaks to you! – What lies!
– What are you doing! Come, you’ll have a new dance! Dance up front with your one leg! The rest with two legs will dance behind you! Break it down! Tear it up! Hags, old bags, come and see! The newlydead is making Pegleg dance! Our card game was disturbed! I’d won ten human eyeballs! What’s going on? – Three-head, hello! What do you need ten human eyes for? But you’ve six of your own. Who needs cards? The fun’s out here! Why cards? Why life? Sing, play, entertain me! I’m in no mood, my kokle won’t sing. – Play! I played, I danced all through the night… – But he’s alive! – He’s dead. – Lord told me he was alive. You’re alive!
– Bring your Lord! – He’s sleeping like a log! – Hot irons!
– He’s alive! – Stop shouting! – Lord is three sheets to the wind.
– Three drops of the girl’s blood. – Three drops! The Devil drinks
by the bucketful! – Alive! – Go to hell! – I’ll eat him later! Now play! – Again Lelde! Cursed Lelde!
– Only you can make that happen. – I alone. – Newlydead! Don’t let him!
– I won’t! – Bring her here! – I cannot. –The Lord commands! Newlydead’s the one! Allow what? Let him play, we’ll cook him later! Beg all you want, I’ll not play!
You’ll not hear these dulcet tones! You just yawn, you are bored.
Cannot dance nor play! We can dance and play! Let’s have fun! Avada, kedavra, threshers flay,
trick track, bang and crash! Why did you say that in front of him?
– Sacred words! He laughs at us! What do you say? Let’s have fun! Listen, songs! We know how! Beat, beat, beat! Human bones, the dead’s bones. The handle, the leg bone, the flail, the thigh bone. the flail cord, the hand’s tendon! Large grains – hearts, small grains – eyes. The tiniest, sharpest ones the teeth crumbling, foaming chaff! What d’you think? – That’s nothing. I’ll show you something good! Dead, rise up! Light the Candle of the Dead! Save her, let’s pour! Mould the candle! We need but three drops… – Say nothing! Tear Tots apart!
– Tear him, tear, tear! Wasn’t that devilish jest better than your jokes? – Stop that! Better you play! – Give me one devil’s string! – What kind of string? – A demon’s tail!
– Fine, take one! – Come here, you! Who knows so much
– Forgive me! Not my tail! I need a thin string. Give me yours.
– Forgive me! – It would do, but it’s hard to rip out!
– Three-head! Don’t let him! – It would do, but it’s too thick. This one will do! – Ow! Ow! Ow! Why are you crying? Now we’ll start the music! Keep playing what you started! Louder! – Everyone will get to dance! The devil moon is shining.
– Witches’ hind quarters! The devil stars are shining. – Owl eyes! The old devil is crouching on the sun, warming his belly. A song never before heard, as from the devil’s very soul! A dance of the dead! – It requires strings of the dead. No strings, no song! Will you give me your sinew for a string? You’re crazy! – Do you want Lelde’s dance? He won’t allow it! – Just give me your sinew! Wait, we’ll get you a chord! Lay down! Take out a sinew! Here you are! Now play! Play! It sparked, it died down a short, brief spark. The smoke billowed a long time. It sparked, it died down a short, brief life. The years went on a long time. Don’t die, my dear life! Come, I’ll save you! Three-head! Listen! Come! I will save you! I’ll destroy you all, I’ll cast you out! I’ll tear all hell apart! – Listen! – My boy!
You wanted to live, you wanted to die! – Listen! – Decide quickly or my song will make all of you wish you were alive to die again! I played, I danced all through the night, all through the night with one lovely girl. Bring Lelde! Prepare a wedding! Lelde! Lelde! Why are you waking me? You can’t open the door to the underworld. She goes! She goes! In the coffin she’ll lie on her face, then she’ll never get up again! Lelde! Oh! Don’t go back! I played, I danced all through the night, all through the night with one lovely girl. She returns! – Who gave him this kind of song? But it was not yet midnight when the song started to fall apart… I didn’t finish the dance, stop calling me! How will I go? My shoes are in tatters, who will retie my laces? Help her, Player! Tie her shoes! Come, girl, to the wedding dance! She goes! She goes! Give me one strand of hair! I’ll bring you back to life! I can’t, Zemgus is there. There is room enough to live without him! Was he able to save you, to sense you? I couldn’t sense you either. I’m embarrassed… Come, my love! Let’s continue our dance! Tots! I can’t sense you! My dear! Hair! Don’t cry, my sweet girl! Don’t ask me to dance! How will I dance with my veins unwound? My blood flows out… Who will give me blood? Who drank your blood, let him give it! A hair! – Here’s a hair! Lelde! I’ll save you! Go, and don’t turn back! You’ll have your wedding, Lord! Stand there by the coffin! – A wedding!
– A wedding! Give your bride a prize! Give her three drops of blood! – Good! Anything but that! – Then no wedding! – Fine by me!
– Then no wedding? The pitchforks are here! Take those three drops! Dear me! Not that! My stomach is full of riches! Valuable sap, rich drops! Not that! More valuable than that sap are those three drops of blood! Cut open the Lord’s stomach! Three… sparks… glow – drops of blood. Bloody swill, my swill! Hold it, catch it! My hands are burning! Tots tries to catch the drops, but they fall, start to burn and smoke. The Earth! You took the drops? I wanted to return a life to you! Better you take smaller drops! The Earth steals! Thunder! Thunder! Stop shouting! The Earth has a right! We are all her children. The dead and the Three-Headed King, too. The devil and the dead are immortal. Only a man is mortal.
Mortals die, let them die! Earth! Give them back,
I won’t leave you in peace! You’ll be sorry! Answer! The blood flames glow and lift the dead in peace. The earth gives many children. Not just takes, but also gives. Take it, let’s pour. What voices are those?
What’re they pouring? They’re pouring the Candle of the Dead, The song of the past must go into the future. The light of The Candle and the sun must meet! Player, you are smart, swift! More devilish than our own devils! I’m sorry: Your head will rot. My head will rot but Lelde will stay! Everyone rots, except a devil! I’ll make you a devil! Oh, what an honour! Those are devils? They destroy cattle. They make mischief, what joy! There’ll come those who will swallow entire nations. Consume everything, suck souls through the fingernails! These devils will come, where will you all be? – Listen! He’s a true devil!
– What can you promise me? This I can promise you – become our new leader! – Where is Three-Head?
– I am old. I want to rest. I carry three lifetimes within me. My devils are spoiled. Your own son left you for the world of the living… ha ha! Dear me! Yes! He was a spiteful tick like you! He prefered a change of kin, to die and live, rather than not die at all a consistent gait. You’ll rule the devils. I’ll give you two of my heads! I only need one to rest. What use have I for your two heads? I prefer better to live, to die! You don’t know what horror is! I’ll show you horrors! Once you were the antithesis of all. But what are you now? I’ll now be the anti-devil, the anti-god, the anti-human! I’ll perform the miracle of unity! I will join that which is below with that, which is above against the anti-human! I will separate the fine from the rough with great skill. I will rise up from the dark to the sun and will gain the lowest and highest of powers! And will thus be able to ward off all darkness! All weaknesses, doubts and delusions will fall away from me. I will secure what is lost or wandering and melt all that is frozen and bound. I will transform them into prosperous power and action! It is the most powerful power, the only creator for everyone, for all,
within all! Even you, Player, know some things, man can’t know everything! Your knowledge will disappoint you! You will wish to be forever – to be yourself, to be alone. Though I may die, I will not die for my songs will live forever! I pity you, Player! There is disappointment in your knowledge! Though your songs may live, there’ll be none that can play them. Everyone will know how! I pity you, I pity myself! A thousand years have passed. Neither the devils, nor the dead know where my son has gone? You would have been a son to me. Lelde! You choose such a pitance? Player, listen! When you yourself are that son of mine!
– Dear me! Dear me! I’m creating a new world for myself, of my life’s three ages! My song sung from three heads! That, which is. That, which was. That, which forever will be! Anti-everything! That is I! The antithesis! I’m going! Don’t go! My son! Antithesis! I’m going! You have no escape, Player! Get him! Alla shazaam, adava kedavra, the flayers flay! I’ll kill, I’ll drive out, I’ll not let return! Drive us out, ha! Bragging fool! One can drive us out only when we ourselves give the word! – Speak it not! – This one lords over me!
To home, to never return! Ha! Fool! When I decide, you’ll speak it yourselves! Rise up, you dead! Light the Candle of the Dead! You took the drops, took them. We moulded the candle. The candle burns. The darkness flees. I’ll carry your candle out to greet the morning sun! I’ll wake Lelde, wake all of you! The sun will pity all. Not you. Forever alone. Who speaks for the dead. The end of time. I played, I danced all through the night… All through the night…
Well, you devils, farewell! Now he’s the antithesis! Get him! Who can challenge the Candle of the Dead? Roast him in the stove! He who is mortal will now die! Chase him into the stove with the flails of the dead! You have no escape, Player! I won’t let this filth win over me! Home, to never return! Home, to never return! Filthy devils, you’re running yourselves off! Blue-green flames! All the devils have scurried off to their dark depths! Why have I come here? Only to see if my happiness hasn’t whithered again. Sleep now a little more, then I’ll raise you to the sun! The sun will give you life! Listen! Listen! – Who’s there? What does he want? Soon! Listen! Did I bring you that string in vain that night? Just in the crevice! We will play together! Listen! – Mere threats!
– Listen! Listen! Sleep, rest, my love in my arms… The rooster has long since crowed, the worst has passed. Is he still afraid to come? Look! What is he doing? Why should I go? I’m afraid even after ten rooster crows. I’ve no fear. It appears he’s dead. Well, what is it? The trees are uprooted, the ground dug up, the water in the well frothing! Where were you? – I was at the cemetery. All the crosses are strewn about,
sand everywhere! I listened from afar, trembling the whole night. In a bath house all of hell is singing, dancing! They howl and shout. With moans of suffering in between! Rams, horses, pigs, wolves!
And then suddenly – still! The Player is dead! What a pity, he was a good boy. Some hero he was… All the devils are defeated! Who would dare challenge me? Why do you all stand there? Get a chair for Lelde! Let the sun see you first! Will we really be freed? Free is he who dares be free! Mother, come! Look, it’s your daughter! Daughter, my water lily, saved from the waters of death! Saved from the waters of death. Saved, but still weak, what kind of life would it be with her? Bring Zemgus! Lelde sleeps like a flower, sprinkled by morning dew. They will open their eyes together, the sun and my Lelde! Your Lelde? Do you mean to take my son’s bride from him? – But you said she was still weak…
– She’s mine! The Player saved her, the Player gets her! Himself that’s dying will take the living. – Tots, this is not your path!
– This kind of talk from you, too! Lelde! Lelde! Again! Welcome back to the living! Welcome back, Player! This is how you greet me? I had been prepared to fight! I was and I am a foe, just as long as Lelde is saved! Now let her go! The sun will rise at any moment. How pale he is! – Pity yourself! Tots, my son, this is not your path! Why do you keep nagging – the path is not yours! All my enemies, traitors fell before me!
You will be my enemy? This path’s not yours: the end for him. Yours goes on from here. My path truly does go far! I am to live eternally, like the sun! Like the sun? Which sun? The sun that sets as it rises? I know another – the eternal sun, once risen doesn’t set! Give life to others in this life, yours will be given in another! – The blind man sees suns!
– Two suns, two lives! One is seen by bright eyes, the other by dim eyes. One sun, come quick! What does he want? Master the sun? The sun knows its path, you better know yours! Sun, you need to rise! Beware! The Candle of the Dead! A blind man doesn’t see. I have fled enough. Burn, Candle! Sleeping eye, see! Silent mouth, open! Numb hand, grasp! Sun, sun, come! The Candle of the Dead burns quickly! The Candle’s flame must greet the light of the sun. It sparked, a short life went out. The sun will shine forever! The sun, the sun comes large! Oh my! You bested the sun itself! Rest in peace! The freed spirits greet the Player. For you, Lelde – a new sun! She stands, quietly gazing at the sun. Who suffers death, suffers the sun. She stares at the sun without pause. She can’t look away. Who can get enough sun? Lacking… – Lacking? Tiny drops of blood! Three tiny drops… Do you still lack drops of blood? Soon! Crawl! The crevice! Listen! Hasn’t the Earth drunk enough? I’ll kick your throat closed! Sun, look! Look what Mother Earth does to me! Her cheeks are full of blood! Would you like to suck as well? Ha ha! Let me tell you a secret… Today you’ll die! Ha ha! Who takes the Candle of the Dead will die. Calm yourself, son, you’ll have to go! Don’t fight your path! You can only master the sun by going there where it sets! To die now? I hear your harsh speech! I want to live! Listen! You! You gained so much more, you gained musical strings, that no human has: earth, hell, the voices of the sun! Those strings contain more sound than all living happiness. Quiet, old man! If those strings contain a lifetime of sound, why should I leave today, not having played, heard? Man has one life, a song has three: That, which was. That, which is. That, which forever will be. I won’t give you up, Lelde! Player, is she alive like you boasted? Why so silent now? Some hero! You came into a place of happiness, brought death with you! Now bring Lelde back to life or your blood will be spilled! They threaten me with death! Me, who defeated death itself. Just three drops of blood, Lelde will be alive in a moment! Who’s brave enough to give those drops? But beware, it means certain death! Zemgus, you who claimed to love her… Spill your own blood for her! Spill it yourself! My blood is too valuable, all of yours equals but one drop of mine! Take my blood! Bring a knife! Ho ho, I have won! I’ll live eternal as the sun! The blind man steps away from Tots. I played, I danced, all through the day! His kokle is silent.
– You, voice! What’s the matter? I played, I danced…
– It makes no sound. – My! My! My! What are you saying? Shut your mouth! Heed the strings! The devil’s string! The string of hair! Play, my own string! Damn you! Why don’t you play? Play, string! Oh my! Oh my! Player, my son! Here’s a knife! – Give it to him! Here’s a knife! – For what?
– To kill Zemgus! He must make this offering himself. You demand my blood but yourself you lack the nerve to kill! I’m not asking for your blood,
you have to give it yourself! Boy, give me that knife! Give life to others in this life, yours will be given in another! So this is what it means… my eternal life! Reflected in the knife’s tip, the muteness of my strings. The eternal sound rests in the strings, my new song stays unsung, that, which
I could only sing. You strung the strings, it will be easier for others to play! Try, can you? – Alas, they don’t sound for me. My strings will be silent for others, suffered and gained in vain. – A song once sung never dies.
– Even if not heard or seen? May it not be heard for a hundreds ages, in a thousand there will be one who comes. He will hear your song,
he will hear it and sing. He will teach it to those who come after a thousand ages. Alas, will they come? Your song was an echo of a song from long ago. So your song will echo another, far into the future! Show the scar on your neck, where the Lord drank your blood! Blind man, stand by me! Oh! I take three drops of blood! Now my blood flows in your veins! One may gain by taking, or gain by giving. The gained by giving cannot be taken away! Tots, the strength in me grows! My limbs rise! Time for you to rise, and for me to wane. Oh dear me! Oh dear! Do not call the sorrows, they will come! Bring me joy, play for me! It doesn’t play for me! Does it for me? Have you strength in your limbs to dance? I can dance, but how? You’re dying before my eyes! The living and the dead fit together well. I played, I danced all through my life, all through my life with one lovely girl. Half a lifetime had not passed by… The song is falling apart… Oh! Who cried out? Is he dead? He lives! He is blessed! He is! He lives! He’s blessed! He is!

8 thoughts on “I PLAYED, I DANCED Kalniņš – Latvian National Opera and Ballet

  1. Tried to find Kalnins on Wiki to get some more info. Latvian composers are relatively unknown in GE. Does anbody have some reference links for me? Even the Wiki info is rather limited, with no reference to this opera at all.

  2. Thanks for this; weird, interesting stuff. And hey, I've finally achieved my lifelong dream of seeing a Latvian opera! Possibly I didn't know I had this dream until just now, but that's neither here nor there. Actually, I remember in that Latvian National Opera hundredth anniversary gala concert you had up a while back, there were a number of pieces from totally-unknown-to-most Latvian operas. Given your relationship with the company, I sure would love to see some of those in full sometime! And if not from you guys, I don't see how it's ever going to happen.

  3. Strangely fascinating. A musical and visual stunner, and the lead singers were incredibly good. My first time as well with a Latvian opera, and now I want to know more. Thanks, OV, for opening the door.

    I also tried to find something about the original play or the film that was made of it. Lots on the opera, but almost nothing on the source material, which is kinda sad that we're losing such things.

  4. Visualmente potente esta curiosa ópera, musicalmente una mezcla entre folclore, opereta y tradicional tonal. Bonita y bien cantada. Personalmente prefiero un lenguaje más vanguardista pero fue una velada operística interesante y entretenida

  5. Поэтическое представление начала 20 века о временах старины плюс музыка 70-х. Необычное сочетание. Заслуживающее внимание. Практически после этой оперы симфоническая музыка в Латвии кончилась. Потом латышские композиторы или лепили рок-оперы, или упадали в религиозность. У этого спектакля есть ещё одна очень интересная черта – сценография эстетически отсылает к первым постановкам пьесы в 20-х годах и к эстетике театра Дайлес – самостоятельной латышской театральной традиции, рождавшейся в то же время.

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