The Three Hermits (children's opera) (Paul Stetsenko)

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  • (Posted 2016-06-08)   CPDL #39962:   
Editor: Paul Stetsenko (submitted 2016-06-08).   Score information: Letter, 71 pages, 576 kB   Copyright: Personal; Copyright of music is also assigned by the composer to Orthodox Church of America (OCA)
Edition notes:

General Information

Title: The Three Hermits (children's opera)
Composer: Paul Stetsenko
Lyricist: Tandy Martin; Paul Stetsenkocreate page

Number of voices: (missing)   Voicing: Unknown
Genre: SacredOpera

Language: English
Instruments: Piano

First published: 2016

Description: A children's church opera based on a short story by Leo Tolstoy "The Three Hermits"

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text


PROLOGUE
(The Teacher; the Children)

The Teacher:
Please, sit my dears, compose yourselves, and then we will begin.
Summer [Christmas] is a time of joy and beauty, let us play!
What, my lovely children, would you like to learn today?
Children:
We want to sing! We want to read! We want to dance!
One Child:
Where do we go when we sleep?
All Children:
Where do we go when we sleep? How long is time? And what is “mine”? How do we dream?
One Child:
I want to learn how to pray.
Teacher:
To pray? You already know how. Open your heart and God will listen.
One Child:
I don’t know… Please tell me how to do it right.
Teacher:
Beloved child, my little one, tell me, what are you thankful for?

All children (chorus)
Thank You for the air we breathe, and thank You for our laughing days,
And how we run and hide, and how we sleep warm in our beds,
safe from nightmares, and the dread of monsters…
We are protected safe from harm.
Thank you for the love we give, and for the love we get,
And all the wonders of the world.
Thank You for this wondrous world; we thank You for this world.

One Child:
But I don’t know any “real” prayers. Please teach us how to pray a real prayer, like grown-ups do.
Teacher:
Would you like to hear a story? I’ll tell a little tale, and then you all can say that you know how to pray.
Children:
Yes, yes, yes!
Teacher:
Once upon a time and not so long ago, a Bishop sailed with pilgrims on a holy mission to a shrine.
 

SCENE 1

Pilgrims’ Chorus
The way of a pilgrim is not to depart; the way of a pilgrim is homeward bound.
To follow Christ, deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him, Our Savior has commanded.
We pass through the lands which are not our own; we cross the distant rivers whose names we do not know.
To follow Christ, deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him, Our Savior has commanded.
Beyond the horizon our Heavenly Home is calling us, the faithful, to union unknown.
To follow Christ, deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him, Our Savior has commanded.


SCENE 2
(two sailors, the Bishop)
Sailor 1:
Do you think it’s true? Are we near the magic island? Are we near the Hermits?
Sailor 2:
I have heard they are three holy men, friends of sailors lost at sea or drowning in the waters here. I have heard they do not speak and only pray.
The Bishop (walks in on the conversation):
Friends, please tell me what you mean? Who are these three that you have seen?
Saior 1:
There are three holy hermits on that island that you see.
I know that they are there because they once saved me.
Their beards are long, their clothes are tattered, but they helped me with my ship.
They fed me and they cared for me, then sent me on my way.
I asked, “Have you been here long?”
It was the only time they spoke; they said this, and only this:
“Have mercy on us, Lord!”
The Bishop:
This captures my imagination. I would like to meet them, I would like to teach them
For salvation of their souls.
Sailor:
O Bishop, they are mute like fish, they never even speak.
They surely are not worth your time,
They would not understand your holy word.
The Bishop:
Please, tame to the island. I will pay for your trouble.
I still want to meet these men and help them if I can.
(The bishop is transported to the island)


SCENE 3
(The Bishop; three hermits)
The Three Hermits:
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.
(to the Bishop): Bless, Father!
The Bishop:
I’ve been called to teach my flock, and this I do today…
I see that you are godly men. Please tell me how you pray.
The Hermits:
We only know one prayer; we say it many times a day.
It is the only time we speak. We say it in this way:
“Three are Ye; three are we; have mercy on us, Lord.”
The Bishop:
There is the Holy Trinity. This much is good and true but this is not the way to pray.
Let me teach you how to pray the way God says that all men should.


SCENE 4
(The Bishop, the hermits)
The Bishop:
Our Father…
The Hermits:
Our Father…
The Bishop:
Which art in heaven…
The Hermits:
Which art in heaven…
The Bishop:
Hallowed be Thy name…
The Hermits:
Howling is Thy name…
The Bishop:
Not “howling,” but “hallowed”!
The Hermits:
 “Hallowed…”
The Bishop:
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done…
The Hermits:
They will be done as kingdom come…
The Bishop:
On earth as it is in heaven…
The Hermits:
And earth, it is in heaven…
The Bishop:
Give us this day our daily bread…
The Hermits:
Give us this bread our daily day…
The Bishop:
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors…
The Hermits:
And forget our debtors…
The Bishop:
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil,
For Thine is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

The Bishop:
Bless you. You are better now. Go pray as I have taught.

The Hermits (departing)
“Three are Ye; three are we; have mercy on us.”


SCENE 5
(The Bishop, the pilgrims, the sailors)
The Bishop:
O holy wonder! O blessed miracle!
I feel so blest that I can teach those men.
O holy wonder! O blessed miracle!
I am like Jonah who preached in Nineveh.

The Pilgrims, the Sailors:
O holy wonder! O blessed miracle!
Our holy Father, we are your faithful flock.

Sailor 1:
What is that I see? Are the hermits walking on water towards us?
Bishop, can that really be?

Chorus:
What is that we see? The hermits are walking on water…
Bishop, can that really be?

(The Three Hermits walk on water towards the ship. As the Hermits approach, the Bishop looks on in astonishment. The Hermits reach the ship and bow to the Bishop.)

Chorus
(the Pilgrims, the Sailors, the Bishop)
O holy wonder! O blessed miracle!
Are they the angels who came to Abraham?
O holy wonder! O blessed miracle!
Are they the prophets of old, who spoke of Christ?
O holy wonder! O blessed miracle!
They are the hermits, they are just simple men.

FINALE
(The Hermits, the Bishop, the Pilgrims, and the Sailors)

First Hermit:
Please forgive us, Bishop.
Second Hermit:
Our words all fell away.
Third Hermit:
We can remember nothing.
Three Hermits:
Please teach us how to pray.
The Bishop:
To pray? To pray? You already know how.
O holy men, don’t bow to me. I know your prayer will reach the Lord;
Please pray for us, the sinners.

The Hermits; the Pilgrims:
“Three are ye, three are we, have mercy upon us, Lord!”
Please pray for us, the sinners.

The Bishop:
Today I’ve learned humility; I did not teach you anything; you can already pray.
The Hermits; the Pilgrims:
“Three are ye, three are we, have mercy upon us, Lord!”
Please pray for us, the sinners.
Prayer is not a learned thing that sets a man apart;
A prayer is like a little child who whispers from the heart.
It’s faith that moves the mountain high, and faith that parts the sea;
It’s faith that comforts those in need, and faith that walks with me.
Three are Ye; three are we; have mercy on us.

(The Hermits depart)

Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.