Anton Chekhov

Opera Librettos
Gene Tyburn

Antony & Cleopatra




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Welcome to Tyburn Operas in English
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The Brute

One Act Opera

Play by Anton Chekhov into Libretto by Gene Tyburn

Act 1

As the curtain opens, the music will reflect the depression of Mrs Popov and that we are in Russia (perhaps using some famous Russian folk tune integrated into the overture). Mrs. Popov is standing looking out of her window (right stage). Picture of SmirnovMrs Popov

We see the interior of a victorian country home. Up center is a large painting covered with a black drape so you don't see the whole image of the man. Mrs. Popov is a beautiful woman in her thirties, fighting back tears. In comes her fuddy duddy servant named Babalu who is bringing her a cup of tea. He is worried about her. As he reaches center stage, he notices the audience, turns and steps toward them singing in a kind way...

Babalu Good afternoon.
As you can see, my mistress is in a bad way.
I am worried sick since my master died.
Leaving her alone to pine away.
She's getting thinner every day.
This cup of Cha will cheer her up and chase the blues away.

He x to her, to offer the tea, but she rejects and waves him away. And holds on to the curtains in anguish.  He looks at the audience and shakes his head and tip toes out to the kitchen.

Mrs Popov

Being Brave

I must never set foot out of doors again.
You my husband, you are in your grave... And I'm barried alive in this house. yes, yes, this house will be my coffin! We are both in our graves.

  she x center stage holding her locket photo of him and sings to it

You shall see, my Popov, how a woman can love. You shall learn what it is to be faithful. I will set you the example of how a love should be. You will see it now... you shall learn it from me.


She is scolding him like a child and getting upset... and there is a loud knocking at the door.  She freeze’s in a panic. There is some hubbub music off stage.

Babalu then enters, he is very upset and fearful


Madam, a frightful man is at the door! He demands to talk to your late husband!

He got into a terrible state when I told him he was dead. He said he would speak to you, no matter what I said.

  The door opens and Mr. Smirnov enters, he is big and unkempt in a large russian hat, and when he sees Mrs. Popov, he takes off the hat and tries to straighten up his appearance. He is covered with dust and his hair is a mess.
Mr. Smirvov

He is upset and trying to conceal his agitation, but tries to act the gentleman.

Excuse the interruption... Madam

The door just flew open.

An obvious lie

May I have the honor of introducing myself?

With formality and dignity

Nicolae Enovitch Love O Chevsky ... Smirnov. Landowner and ex-officer, retired.

He clicks his heels

Here to see your late husband, Popov. Here is my business card.

Mrs Popov

she is suspicious

And what pray tell would his business be with you? Mr... Mr... ???

Mr. Smirvov

Helping her out with his name

Smirnov, Madam.

Mrs Popov

Yes of course, Mr. Shiminkov.

She gets his name wrong all of the time

Mr. Smirvov

Well, he used to buy things from me, Madam... Petticoats, ear-rings, fancy ribbons, etc., etc.


Looks to the audience and in a worried tone

This does not look good, it's safe to say. He seems to be rude in every way!

Mr. Smirvov

Realizing this was the wrong thing to say and corrects his list

Oats, grain, farm equipment, etc., etc., Madam!

Mrs Popov

Yes of course... now I understand
He owed you money did he not?

Mr. Smirvov

A great deal Madam, I'm afraid, and has promised to pay me on the spot.
Here are the receipts. He bought an awful lot.


to the audience

He bought an awful lot

Mrs Popov

My dear Mr... Mr.... Mr...???

Mr. Smirvov

getting irritated about this name thing


Mrs Popov

My dear Mr. Smirplop, you shall be paid! Every ruble, every kopeck, when my servant gets back from town. But today... No! Today is exactly seven months since Mr. Popov's death and I'm in no mood to think of money.

she tries to stiffles a sob


He sings this very fast to the audience

I'm the only servant here
and I've been with her over seven years.
I walk the dog, I cook and sew.
One day she'll pay me
She told me so.

Mr. Smirvov

In desperation

My dear Lady... you don't undertand.
You're talking to a desperate man!
Therefore I must ask you to pay me today.
Tomorrow is far too late!
I'll have to hang myself at morning sun.
If these bills are not paid, I'm quite undone.

Mrs Popov

She turns to see him still there, surprised

Oh... you're still here... Mr.... Mr... ???

Mr. Smirvov
and Babalu

They sing together


Mrs Popov

Yes of course! But I thought I made it clear, Mr. Smirnovkov, that I can't pay you today. I shall pay you the day after tomorrow when my other servant returns from town.
Can I make myself more clear?


to the audience

Perhaps he doesn't hear?

he shouts  

May I show you out sir?!

Mr. Smirvov

Shut up you little bug before I step on you and crush you like a worm!

Babalu starts to shake ..and creeps out of the room in fear. Then to mrs.popov

You're sure you don't have it?

Mrs Popov


I don't have it!


he sticks his head out of the kitchen door and says:

She doesn't have it, she said!

To the audience he sings

He must be a dunder-head!

Mr. Smirvov

Smirnov goes quickly  to the kitchen door and kicks it shut. We hear him hit the floor and pots and pans crash on the other side.  Smirnov then tiptoes behind Mrs. Popov and tries to catch her off guard, and yells


Mrs Popov


She tries another tract..and sweetly sings

O you may have your money when my servant returns.
All will be paid.
Until then I refuse to hear another word.
Please leave my house and go away!

She rushes past him crying and slams a door behind her. He is stunned and cannot believe he is now alone without anyone to vent his anger.  He goes to her door and cries out.

Mr. Smirvov

Mrs. Popov, you cannot leave this room!
... She has left the room!!!
Mrs. Popov, come back in here!

He pounds on the door then to the audience

So She's not in the mood
and her husband is dead
and her servant's gone off
and I'm out of my head.

He paces up and down...a realization

I have let all of these liars play me for a fool
Borrow my money and treat me like a mule
But not any more, No!
This is the end.
I'm losing control
What a rage I'm in!


He yells out.  Babalu sticks his head out of the door.  He has a large white bandage on his head

A strong drink of vodka and in a very large glass.

He now gets control and  become calm and sings to the audience

O consider the logic of women.
I tell her my plight
If I don't get my money this very night
But she's not in the mood

He mocks her voice

"I'm not in the mood"
She cares not a jot
If I'm hung or I'm shot


In comes babalu with a drink on a tray. Smirnov takes a deep drink and realizing its water...spits it all over the face of babalu


He throws it in the fire place.


Babalu wilts  to the floor and crawls out in fear of his life. Now he starts to formulate a plan to get his money.

All right!!!
If she won't pay now I shall stay right here until she pays up. She'll pay up the day after tomorrow, very good...
Until tomorrow here I shall stay.

He takes off his coat and hat and sits on the sofa in a cheerful  mood. Prepared to wait it out, as long as she can. He starts to muse

This mire chit of a girl has no idea who I am.
A man who knows his mind and can weather a storm!
Yes, I know all about woman since the day I was born.
Fifty miles I came here on a limping mule, and she's dressed up for a funeral.
OOOOO what a positive rage I'm in!

He shouts to Babalu

Mrs Popov

She enters with a black vail over her face..floating in on air and sweetly and  sings to him  like an angle to a child ...he is frighten by this apparition.

In the solitude of my rural retreat, my dear Mr... Sik-off I have long since grown un-accustomed to the sound of the human voice, so I beg you not to break the silence any more.

Now my servant Babalu will show you the door.


His head pops out of the kitchen door and he sings quicky

Oh no I wont ... Oh no I wont
OOOOOOOOOO.... Noooo I wont!

Mr. Smirvov

he whispers back to her

Very well... After you pay me I will Go!

Mrs Popov

Feeling this approach has not worked, she pulls off the vail and sings in anger

One can only assume you have been brought up in a stall.
Mr. Smirplop... it's obvious you have no culture at all.

Mr. Smirvov

With a french accent...

You would like me to simpering to you in French I suppose? Enchte Madam... Thank you for NOT paying me zee money Madam.

Now look here Mrs. Popover, I have known more women then you have known pussycats.
I have fought three duels over the weaker sex, and what has happened to me?
They have all abandoned me because they have not sense of loyalty.

Oh yes I have played the fool in my time squandered my for turn on your sex. Burning eyes, heaving bosoms...

He pretends to swoon with love and passion

The moon above... the lake below...
But I don't give a damn about such nonsense any more Mrs. Popov!
I found out about women.
They are ALL LIARS!

I have looked into their very souls and what did I find there?
A crocodile!
And what is more revolting, a crocodile that thinks itself "The Queen of Love" where as in sober fact, a woman cannot love anything except a pussycat.

He struts around in victory having gotten this off his chest

Mrs Popov

She has had she is in a passion greater then his, but she starts out slowly building near the end.

Now that's a good one
Now let me tell you about men Mr. SMIRNOV!!!
My late husband Popov was the best of men. The BEST!
And what did he do? He left me alone for weeks.
He drank, and lied.
Made love to other women before my very eyes.
When my estate was spent and gone
He took to drink and risque songs, then disappeared one night in a winter storm.

But I am faithful... "unto death" you see.
I stood by him in calamity
Now I'm barried alive as you can see
Barried in this house for eternity. 

She is now standing as if nailed the  cross, an object of piety and resolution.     Smirnov walks around her sizing up this performance then in mocking laughter he sings

Mr. Smirvov

As if I couldn't see through this HOCUS POCUS!
Barried alive for eternity
You may say this to all the world
but you and I... and everyone knows why you still continue to powder your pretty little bitty nose!!!

He has hit the mark and she is almost speechless with rage. plops himself down on the sofa and in calm triumph with smile of satisfaction on his face.

Mrs Popov

My dear Mr. Smi Chop

Mr. Smirvov

He leaps into the air with anger



He enters to protect her and with great courage confronts Smirnov and in a shaking voice..pleads

I have come to plead with you sir, to leave the house you have even upset our canary, Tweedy Bird in the kitchen. She is losing all her feathers!!!

Smirnov bops him in the head and he cork screws into the floor to music.   He lies on the floor and neither Smirnov nor Mrs. Popov pay anymore attention to him...they just walk over him when necessary.

Mrs Popov

You WERE born in a stable... You are a BRUTE!!!

Mr. Smirvov

What did you call me?!

Mrs Popov A BRUTE!
Mr. Smirvov

How dare you call me that. You have insulted me Madam!!!

Mrs Popov

She jumps up and down crying out


Mr. Smirvov

He is spitting with passion

No one call Nicoli Enono-vitch Love O Chhesky SMIRNKOV

He corrects his own mistake

SMIRNOV a brute and gets away with it!

A grand  pronoucement





Oh good Lord, their going to shoot it out!

Mr. Smirvov

Yes, let's shoot it out today

Mrs Popov

yes, Yes, let's shoot it out today

Mr. Smirvov



Shoot it out... They are going to shoot it out
... Shoot it out this very day
... Shoot it out today,
no matter what I say.
I better make sure I'm out of the way.

Mrs Popov Shoot it out, shoot, shoot, shoot this very day
Ther is no other way.
If I gave him the money
would he go away?
Mr. Smirvov

If I got the money I would go away
If she paid me the money
I would go away.

Mrs Popov

To shoot it out is the only way. He just won't listen to what I say.


If I had any money I would give it away.
Anything, anything, anything to make him go away.

All Three

And end all of this todayyyyyyy



Mrs Popov

She is really pist off and rearing to go

So you want to shoot it out?
OK! Let's shoot it out
I'll have Poplov's pistols out here in one minute
and putting one of Popov's bullets through your puny head, will be a pleasure.
Au Revoir

Mr. Smirvov

He takes a shooting stance an fires his immaginary pistol

I shall bring her down like a duck
Like a sitting duck

He paces back and forth accross the stage firing the gun...walking over babalu who is lying on the floor gasping for air.


Water, some water, my heart it's giving out... aaaahhhh

Mr. Smirvov

No sir.
There is no weaker sex where I'm concerned
If a woman wants emancipation, let it be earned!
A Duel!
...Yes, a duel!
Her cheeks were flushed,
Her eyes were gleaming and by GOD she accepted the challenge
I never knew a woman like this before.


What a shame I shall have to kill her.
But, she is not sour puss...
She's not a cry baby.
She's fire and brimstone
A wild cat.
A man could fall in love
with a woman like that!


They're going to shoot it out
There will be blood on the floor.
I must go for help
If I can get to the door.

He crawls towards the door

Mr. Smirvov

I like her!
Isn't that funny?
I am even prepared to let her off this debt.
And whgere is my anger?
It's gone
Smething is very strange about this.
I could burst into song.


As Babalu gets to the door....the door is open by Mrs.  Popov and he is knocked on his ass again, he is out cold in the middle of the floor again. Composer must make allowance for the laughter from the audinece in the music.

Mrs Popov

She has entered with the pistols in a strong and dignified attitude stepping over the body of Babalu as if he were not there.

Pistols Mr. Smirnov! But before we start, you better show me how to shoot and aim, so I can shoot a bullet through your silly brain.

Mr. Smirvov

To the audience

What eyes she has
They're setting me on fire.
I can;t help myself
Im burning with desire...

He looks at the gun in his hand

Aaaah Smith and Wesson... very good... very good.

He put his gun in his belt, he puts his arms around her waist to demonstrate how to shoot.

The first thing you do is this.
Hold out your arm...
Study now.
Don't flinch or shake your hand.
If you do, you'll miss your man.
Cock the trigger here, then let fire.

To the audience

O my GOD... I'm burning with desire.

Mrs Popov

Very well... I think I have it!
Shall we step out into the garden?
I have just had these rugs cleaned.

Mr. Smirvov

Yes, yes, of course.
But I should warn you, I shall be firing into the air.

Mrs Popov ...into the air... WHAT?!  WHY????
Mr. Smirvov

Well, to tell you the truth Mrs. Popov, I like you.

Angry with himself and he blutes out his feelings ...

A man could fall in love with a woman like you!

He makes the final realization and sings to the audience As she is looking at him as if he has gone insane.

I have fallen in love!!!
I haven't been in love in five years
and now to be swept off my feet by this woman
This mire chit of a girl
I'm lost...
I'm done fore.
Like a mouse in a trap. held in the paws of a gorgeous cat.

Mrs Popov

She is still seething  with anger

Get to your feet you COWARD! We're going to shoot it out
Get your pistol.
No excuses.
No delays.
We're going to shoot it out this very day.

She puts the pistol to his head

Mr. Smirvov

You don;t understand dear lady.
I love you.
You must marry me!
I think I'm out of my mind.
I beg of you.
Will you or won't you?

Mrs Popov

I won't be happy until I have drilled a hole right thourough your head.

Smirnov gets up and takes her in his arms

Get away from me... I hate you!

Mr. Smirvov

He gives her a passion it kiss.
this time she goes limp in his arms.

You don't understand dear lady, I hate me too.

They kiss again...she enjoying it as much as him.



Mr. Smirvov

Are we going to shoot it out?
What do you say?

Mrs Popov

We could shoot it out tomorrow, after all, tomorrow is another day.


My Lord, if they shoot it out tomorrow, I never will get paid.

Mr. Smirvov

Let's talk about tomorrow
Let's talk about tomorrow
and laugh about today.

etc., etc.,


Are they going to shoot it out?
Is there something that I missed?
Will they shoot it tomorrow
after such a kiss?