Title/Author/ISBN Search        Browse by Title, Author, Tag, User, New

A Little Night Music

Publisher: Applause Books, Date: 2/1/00, Pages: 236, ISBN: 9781557830708
Get at: Amazon, San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Francisco
   -- Claire T   (6/15/07)   

Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music is a musical about the lives of several people, all with their own problems. There is a man (Fredrik) who married a 15 year old girl (Anne) to try to bring back his youth. He lives with Anne, Henrik, his son from a previous marriage, who is in fact older than Anne, and Petra, his promiscuous maid. Anne married Fredrik because she felt sorry for him, and is still a virgin after 11 months of marriage. After Fredrik sings a song about love in his sleep (that Anne listens to) in which he ends by saying the name Desireč, he takes Anne to a show where Desireč is performing. Anne remembers him saying ‘Desireč’ in his sleep, and now, in the performance, it seems as if she is only performing for him (which she is)! Anne rushes out of the theatre, followed by Fredrik, and they both go home. Anne goes to sleep, but Fredrik goes out for ‘a little fresh air’. Actually, he goes to Desireč’s house, where they meet after 14 years of being apart. He tells her about his new wife, and she is pretty much disgusted. They are interrupted by Desireč’s lover, Count Carls-Magnus. They make up a story of why Fredrik is there, so he won’t think that they are having an affair (which they are). The Count believes it, however, and goes home to his wife, Charlotte. He asks her to tell Anne, who was her old student, that her husband is having an affair with Desireč. Even though she knows that her own husband is also unfaithful, also with Desireč, she wants to please him, and she does. Desireč visits in the country with her mother and daughter, and decides to invite Fredrik and his wife, as well as Henrik and Petra. However, Anne tells Charlotte that she’s going to the country, and Charlotte tells her husband, the Count, and they tag along as uninvited guests.

When they get there for dinner, practically everyone is flirting with each other, all for different reasons, and Henrik furiously leaves the table. The guests scatter themselves around the estate. Fredrik and Desireč go to her bedroom, where she tells him that the reason she invited him was so that they could get back together. However, Fredrik won’t leave his bride, and walks out. Anne and Desireč’s daughter, Fredrika (who she named after Fredrik) try to find Henrik. They split up, and Anne finds him after he has failed to hang himself from a tree. To make a long story short, they find they love each other, and they run off together to the train station. Petra is having a good time with the butler, Frid. Charlotte is sitting on a bench where Fredrik sits down, and sees his son and wife running off together. Charlotte consoles him, but it looks different to the Count, who then walks in and challenges him to a duel. Fredrik doesn’t really have a choice, and they both go offstage, where a gunshot is heard. The Count comes back with Fredrik leaning on his shoulder, and tells her that he only grazed his ear. He tells her to pack her bags, and she is extremely happy that he loved her enough to have a jealousy duel over her. They leave. Desireč and Fredrik find themselves together again, and they find they really do love each other, and all of the couples have a happy ending.

 It has absolutely beautiful music, and I'm frankly surprised that it's not better known, but this might be the case because it’s a little ‘adult’. I hadn't known about it either, until I went to see it at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, and I'm very glad I did.

   -- Claire T   (6/15/07)