From Paris to Helen is a short concert aria with a text from Ovid’s “Heroides”: a series of epistolary poems presented as if written by heroines of Greek and Roman mythology. Six of the poems are in pairs, a heroic lover and a reply by the corresponding heroine. Paris is full of youthful arrogance and swagger, but touched with vulnerability. Occasional dark harmonic shifts foreshadow the war that their affair will create.
PARIS, the son of Priam,
sends health to Helen;
which he can himself no otherwise enjoy,
than as it is your gift.
Shall I then speak?
or is it unnecessary to inform you of a passion that betrays itself?
Has not my love already laid itself too open?
I could indeed wish it to lie concealed,
till the time comes when we can taste of joys unallayed by any mixture of fear.
But it is in vain that I dissemble;
for who can smother a flame that always discovers itself by its own brightness?
If yet you expect that my tongue should confirm what my actions have so long declared,