Paul Mauffray : Arthur Dimmesdale's aria "Do Not Be Silent" from "The Scarlet Letter" (Act 1,Scene 1)
composed by Fredric Kroll, performed by tenor Gheorghe Vlad, conductor Paul Mauffray, and the Brno Philharmonic
SYNOPSIS: "The Scarlet Letter" is an operatic version in four acts by Fredric Kroll (born 1945), composed from 1960 to 1965, of Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel of the same name (1850).
June, 1642. The beautiful young Hester Prynne is married to an old,
“misshapen” scholar who had decided to emigrate from England to the new settlement of Boston to be able to practice his Puritan faith there. “He sent his wife before him, remaining himself to look after some affairs.” During the two years Hester has spent in Boston, her husband hasn't turned up, and she has become pregnant. Puritan law punishes adultery with the death penalty. The magistrates grant Hester extenuating circumstances because her husband is presumed drowned. However, they are bent on punishing the father of Hester's child by hanging, and thus sentence Hester to wear a scarlet letter “A” for “adulteress,” branding her as an outcast from society, until she identifies the father.
The magistrates have given the promising young Minister Arthur Dimmesdale the task of exhorting Hester before the assembled populace to reveal the secret. In this aria, he secretly leaves it up to her to condemn him either to be hung – for he himself is the adulterer – or to “hide himself in outward honor” as a total
hypocrite for the rest of his life. In a stage performance, Dimmesdate would kneel in prayer at 0:34-1:25, begging God to guide him.
Hester Prynne, thou hearest what this good man says.
If thou feelest it to be for thy soul's peace,
I charge thee to speak out the name of thy fellow sinner and fellow suff'rer!
Do not be silent for pity is misleading.
Come, Hester, speak!
Do not send his soul to flames unceasing!
From any high or lowly place let him appear
and end his vain concealment here!
What can thy silence do for him except it tempt him,
yea, compel him, as it were, to add hypocrisy to sin?
Heaven hath granted thee an open ignominy
so that thou mayest work out an open triumph over evil.
Take heed how thou deniest to him who, perchance,
hath not the courage to grasp it for himself,
The bitter but wholesome cup thy lips now drink!