Neruda Enamorado

for soprano or mezzo-soprano and piano

Written in the fall and early winter, 2020-21 in Laurel, MD and St. Louis, MO. Commissioned by Denise Bird, Monica Szabo-Nyeste, and Hillary LaBonte.
Text: Pablo Neruda, Veinte Poemas de Amor y Una Canción Desesperada
Public domain
Duration: approx. 30 minutes
Neruda Enamorado (“Neruda in Love”) is a cycle of seven songs on texts from Pablo Neruda’s 20 Love Poems and a Song of Despair. This first and eternally popular collection yielded some very unconventional love songs. The texts I chose focus on the book’s broader themes of a relationship coming to an end. The perspective, being rather outdated, however, was less than romantic and, rather uncomfortable to encounter in so beloved a work. In Neruda Enamorado, I’ve chosen to focus on the poet’s/narrator’s inability to move on, his jealousy, and his unfortunate “incel”-like qualities (which, thankfully, he learns and moves away from).
Neruda Enamorado was commissioned by a consortium of three singers, Denise Rivera, Hillary LaBonte, and Monica Szabo-Nyeste, but it is to Denise that credit goes for suggesting the project in early 2020, upon the 20 Love Poems entering the public domain.