B L A C K D A Y S
There is an undefined war going on and the situation is very dangerous. The scene is set as the despot brags about how he came to power thereby describing how he views the world and the people.
A father with his son (about 6 years old) is fleeing from the war. The pregnant wife/mother has already been killed. The father is on the brink of madness by grief, fear and panic, but can not show it and have to keep spirits up for the child’s sake. The child does not know that the mother is dead.
The child loses his dearest asset, a teddybear. It is being torn apart by a dog. They show great sorrow together over the teddybear and thereby his father can sing his grief over his dead wife too. The two meet a group of other refugees. This becomes an almost cheerful and sardonic/gallow-humoristic meeting. But then suddenly soldiers attacks and the refugees flee in different directions. Many shots are being fired. The child hit by a gunshot in the stomach. They flee forth, trying to survive. They see a church and tries to seek shelter. The door is closed, the people inside sings the psalm «A mighty fortress is our God», but they will not open up the door. The child dies and then the father’s mind turns to madness. He continues to flee with the dead child who he believes is still alive. He disappears mentally into the idea that the war is won and that his family is not dead. He hallucinates his dead wife being alive. The bombs he hears he interprets as the drums of victory and fireworks of celebration. It ends with a happy aria of victory while the world burns. The despot celebrates his success in the war. «Everybody» is happy.
«Der Erlkönig», poem, Johann W. von Goethe
«Life is Beautiful», movie, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118799/
«Pierrot Luniere», melodrama, Schönberg/Giraud
«The dictator», movie, Charlie Chaplin
«Piken med svovelstikkene», fairytale, H.C. Andersen
«Du må ikke sove» («Dare not to sleep»), poem (1937), Arnulf Øverland
12 lines from the hymn «Vår Gud han er så fast en borg»/«A mighty fortress is our God»/«Ein feste burg ist unser Gott» is used in the libretto. Text: Martin Luther