In Merlin, Ezequiel Viñao and Caleb Carr reinterpret the Arthurian legends by focusing on the motivations and actions of the great sorcerer who was King Arthur's principal mentor and ally. Viviane of Avalon comprises four separate moments from the first act of the opera.
At the opening of Scene One of Merlin, Viviane dispatches her other-worldly minions to do mischief among the humans on Earth, who she clearly scorns ("Soon humans...") Her lover Merlin, the great sorcerer who is himself half human, appears to chide Viviane for her eternal torment of the mortals, telling her that although there is much truth in her condemnation of humans, the creatures are nonetheless capable of good -- they simply lack the proper guidance and teaching. Viviane scoffs at this notion and intensifies her indictments ("There's naught in mankind save despair and death...") The two begin to argue in an increasingly serious tone, until Merlin finally claims that he has the ability to make the nobility in humans shine out: that he can raise a human child to be an enlightened ruler, one who will lead his people out of darkness. Viviane again dismisses her lover's words, and Merlin -- reiterating his determination to descend to Earth and execute his plan -- proposes that she wager on the matter with him. Suddenly afraid, Viviane attempts to warn Merlin of the dangers inherent in his scheme ("Folly... madness! Has vision left you?") But Merlin will not be swayed: he dismisses Viviane's fears and declares that he will be successful, and that he will, as soon as he has completed his project, return to her. He offers her a parting kiss, then turns to leave, never hearing her final hopes and fears, which close the scene ("Love, let your words... prove true!")

Viviane of Avalon (excerpt one)

Viviane of Avalon (excerpt two)

viviane of avalon

highlights from merlin

for soprano and orchestra (1998)

Excerpts performed by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France.

Bruno Ferrandis, conductor. Angelina Ruzzafante, soprano.

P.1999 Radio-France. © 1998 TLØN EDITIONS. All rights reserved.

ezequiel viñao

(audio samples)