There’s nothing like a deadline to motivate me to compose—though friends help, too! This week, I’ve been trying something new with my good friend and composer Daniel Morel where we’ve been checking in daily to keep each other accountable for composing. (Speaking of which, I should text him now!) Even though there were a couple days I didn’t get to write any new music, having someone keeping me honest has been very beneficial. Right now, I’m finalizing some excerpts to be performed by Hartford Opera Theater as part of their New in November showcase on Nov. 18. I’ve been making steady progress and am looking forward to polishing everything up and sending it off this week.
Like the section that moves from Marie’s recollection of Pierre’s death into her sequence with Irene, the sections with Irene from “I Take My Life in Measurements” through their duet feature physical motion. This time, the characters shift from the beach where Marie has been restless back into the water. I’ve built in an interlude to allow the singers to move, but will see if the length needs to be adjusted when we start staging.
Irene hopes that going back into the water will distract her mother and give them both time to relax, but Marie is unable to turn her attention away from her work. The tension between them culminates in a reprise of their earlier duet where Irene is focused on their need for rest and Marie on her duties as a scientist and savior.
After the duet, Marie again agrees to stay on vacation, but she still can’t resist the pull of her work. The most she is able to do is sink back into memories as she did before, though now she no longer recalls the joy of her life with Pierre but the trials she faced without him in her last major aria.
I’ve started drafting the vocal line for that aria. In it, Marie remembers the prejudice and maliciousness she faced as a woman in a male-dominated field and an immigrant in her adopted country. While there are moments of repose when she recalls her affair with Paul Langevin and bursts of triumph when she recounts receiving her second Nobel, I think of this music as being her rage aria. I shared a snippet of this on social media earlier in the week, and am including here for anyone who missed it:
Once I’ve got the music for New in November sent off, I’ll be turning back to that aria—so look for more teasers soon!