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11a I wish I had 10.000 Hearts
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1912. The three Almas together in a beauty parlour in Vienna.

JUANA   Damn! I’m afraid I’m pregnant again.

ISABELLA   Who is it this time?

JUANA   Paul Kammerer.

MELANIE   Ugghh! 

JUANA   Why »Ugh«? He's a very rich man, you know. I love him.

ISABELLA   Kammerer is rich?!

MELANIE   Spiritually, not financially, of course.

ISABELLA   He is as poor as his Midwife-Toads, who he’s continually fiddling around with. Apparently he recently kissed one.

MELANIE   A Midwife-Toad. I know. It’s his favourite specimen. It's proofed his theory that artificially-acquired characteristics can be inherited.

JUANA   His discovery will bring him a lot of money, you know? In Russia, he’s already got a large following.

ISABELLA   He’s even said to have restored a lizard’s eyesight!

JUANA   Oh! The poor creature! And what was the first thing it had to look at?

ALL 1-3   Dr. Paul Kammerer!!

MELANIE    This wretched Communist.

ISABELLA    My dear Alma, you're as naïve as you are beautiful.

JUANA   Allow me to tell you: one doesn’t become rich through work.

ISABELLA   What is it you really want then?

MELANIE   What is it that you desire most secretly! What is it that you are dreaming of? Say for once.

ISABELLA   Allow yourself to dream, and say it. Come on, you can tell us everything.

MELANIE   Surrender to your wishes and allow yourself to dream...

ISABELLA   ... the forbidden thoughts too...

MELANIE   ... the hidden ones...

ISABELLA   ... the ones you might even not yet know about.

JUANA   Hang on, hold it, hold it! It’s not that easy to say.

MELANIE   Take your time.

JUANA   You know what I want? Shall I tell you what I desire most?

MEL & ISAB   What is it?

JUANA   Je veux aller á Paris avec vous! Rien au avec vous. Je vous emmenerai au Ritz. Nous predrons la meilleure chamber: la suite nuptiale. Nous resterons aussi longtemps qu’il nous plaira. Nous irons aussi á l’Opera. Aprés le spectacle, nous irons souper à la Tour d’Argent. Est-ce que vous voulez venir avec moi? (I want to go to Paris - with you. Only with you. I’ll take you to the Hotel Ritz. We’ll rent the best room. The wedding suite. We’ll stay there as long as we wish. We’ll go to the opera as well. And after the show we’ll have dinner at the Tour–D’Argent. Do you want to come with me?)

ISABELLA   Yes, why not!

MELANIE   We could go at once!

ALL 1-3   Haaahh!!!

JUANA   It will set Kammerer on fire.

MELANIE   He’ll finally have to choose! Between his stupid wife…

ISABELLA   â€¦ and us!

JUANA   Alma! You are so splendid!

MELANIE   Men are not worthy of our love.

ISABELLA   I wish I could survive without them!

JUANA   I don’t really love them.

MELANIE   I knew it…

ISABELLA   But I can’t. I can’t!

JUANA   I simply love it when they love me. It quickens my pulse to feel their desire.

MELANIE   It awakens me from my deep sleep. It’s like a drug!

ISABELLA   When a man falls in love with me, I immediately fall in love with myself. And all of a sudden my life feels so full …

MELANIE   â€¦ so justified …

JUANA   â€¦ only because a new man passes through my life…!

MELANIE   But they always leave their dirty footsteps in your soul…

JUANA   ... and their greasy fingerprints!

ISABELLA   They numb us with a sweet smell of decay which they dare to call their love…

JUANA   â€¦ and envelop us in a smoke-screen with their ugly taste of stale beer...

MELANIE   ... and cold tobacco...

JUANA   ... and when the clouds of smoke have cleared … ?

ISABELLA   You suddenly feel that your life isn’t your life any longer!

MELANIE   That your life doesn’t even belong to you any more!

ISAB & JUANA   Alma…?!

JUANA   Don’t you think so?!

MELANIE-3 No!!!!!!

MELANIE   Not at all! The more men pass through my life, the more strongly I feel that it is still my life!

JUANA   But they always fill you with their rotten semen!

ISABELLA   Why rotten? With some of them it’s the best whipped cream!

JUANA   Les huîtres de la mer...!

MELANIE   Pasteis de Belem! (Sabaione con fragile..!)

JUANA   They pump you up like a balloon!

MELANIE   If I love a man I also want to have a child with him. If I don’t, it can easily be disposed of.

ISAB & JUANA   Alma!

MELANIE   What’s wrong with that?

JUANA    I am afraid –

ISABELLA    I’m not.

MELANIE   I see. If you think it is such a bad idea –

JUANA    No, no, I think it is a very helpful idea.

ISABELLA   Oh, Alma, I’m so happy for you! You will see that it won’t disturb you at all!

JUANA   Oh, I am sure it won’t. I will never allow any creature to tie my whole life up just because it’s another object that happens to come along - and then vanish again.

MELA & ISAB   An »object«? -

JUANA   Yes.

MELANIE   Well, what’s wrong with objects?

ISABELLA   They can be very interesting and even exciting...

MELANIE   But is that a reason to give them all up because of the first object that has caught our attention? Why should one precious stone make you blind to all the rest of them?


JUANA    I’m not asking for absolute fidelity, but–

ISABELLA    I have nothing against it. I have nothing against fidelity. The mere fact that a new object draws my attention doesn’t mean that I must throw the old one (away) in the garbage. On the contrary. I always say: never throw away a man who has been yours.

MELANIE    Good point!

JUANA   Phantastic!

ISABELLA   One day you could use him or even desire him again… Who knows?

MELANIE   Exactly!

ISABELLA   One never can know! If I lose interest in a man, and I have no use for him any more, I'm not going to just throw him away. Just because my interest in him has died?

JUANA   Wait a minute! I just put him away? Carefully? To rest for a while? In the corner? Within my reach?

MELANIE   Well…!

ISABELLA   Why not? The possibility exists, doesn’t it?

JUANA   Women who are proud of being faithful all their life to only one man - even if it was a really special man - are certainly not interested in men’s overall intelligence and in their pure spirit!

MELANIE    La belle chose de vouloir se piquer d’un faux honneur d’etre fidèle, de s'ensevelir pour toujours dans une Passion, et d’etre mort dès sa jeunesse à toutes les autres beautés qui nous peuvent frapper les yeux! (Through a false sense of honour, they force themselves to be faithful, and they are lost to all the other objects. Their intelligence, their greatness, their genius!)

MELANIE    Such women are dead – long before they have died!!!

ALL 1-3   Yeahhh!!!!

ISABELLA   Doesn’t constancy mean anything to you?

MELANIE   Constancy!

JUANA   It’s ridiculous!

MELANIE   La constance n’est bonne que pour des ridicules; toutes les beaux ont droit de nous charmer, el’avantage d’etre rencontre le premièr ne doit point dérober aux autres les justes prétentions qu’ils ont tous sur nos coeurs. (All intelligent men have the right to enchant me. I would be doing them an injustice! The purely external advantage of he who, by chance, was the first to cross my path - after all, it should not rob the others of the just claim which they may all assert to my heart.)

JUANA   Alexander Zemlinsky happened to be the first to charm me with his talent; why should I bind my heart to Gustav Mahler’s qualities?

MELANIE   Und mit Gustav in deinem Besitz — solltest du dich blind stellen? Empfindungslos und taub? Es war geradezu deine heilige Pflicht, dich um Walters Gropius zu kümmern! (And once Gustav was yours, why should it make you blind to Walter’s perfect grace? It was precisely your sacred duty to attend to Walter Gropius.)

ISABELLA   And when Walter gave you all he had to offer, should you have numbed your senses to what Oskar Kokoschka made them feel?

MELANIE   (port) I know one thing for certain: genius enraptures me wherever I encounter it; I have a nose for it, you see? And I cannot help giving in to its overwhelming power. Even if I am in love with one man’s beautiful spirit, it doesn’t oblige me to be unjust to another man’s ravishing genius. No, I cannot freeze my heart to the shining light of a new young star that appears in my firmament! And if I had 10,000 hearts…

JUANA   If I had 10,000 hearts… I would give them all to him!

ISABELLA   I wish I had 10,000 hearts, which I could open at a time to 10,000 new suns rising on my horizon! For there is nothing as exciting as a new–born attraction. It is so sweet to magnetize, to seduce and to feel the powerful potential of a young, budding genius in your hands; and then to overcome its resistance to being dominated; to weave our invisible net around its fluttering wings, and to pull it step by step into our innermost depths, where we desire it more than anything in the whole world! – Yeahhhh!

MELANIE-3 (sing:)
»In this night of ten thousand hearts
Let me take him to heaven’s door!
Where the music of love’s guitars,
Plays forever more!«

U.S. Alma appears.

ALMA (2 or US)   But once it’s mine, and once I dominate it, there is nothing left to say or to desire. And all the beauty of our passion suddenly is gone, and all that’s left to us is just to fall asleep, to degenerate and to rot depressingly away.

JUANA   Because there is nothing as repulsive and as boring as a man that has become my property, and who behaves as if I now belonged to him.

MELANIE   All of a sudden the most lively spirits fall asleep. The young and charming genius of yesterday becomes a weary spirit in the evening.

ISABELLA   The lively mind collapses as if there had been nothing. And the mouth that has dripped pearls once is now exhaling just an evil smell of rottenness and dung.

JUANA   The man who was my prize becomes my punishment.

ALMA (1 or US)   And all that’s left to do is wonder what I have done to deserve such an ugly punishment! I tell you, worn-out men are worse than death!

Reserl   It must be very sad, loving in all directions, like you do.

JUANA   There’s no need for you to pity us.

ISABELLA   It’s not as bad as you would think.

MELANIE   Believe me, there is one profound remedy for avoiding the kind of disaster we have just described: the only thing that can save us from this ultimate disaster is a new young genius who appears and shakes and wakes us from that slumber which is related to the sleep of death.

The 3 Almas make the sign of the cross.

OSKAR’S VOICE   Alma? Alma, please come up for a moment. I have to talk to you!

ISABELLA   Oskar? I’m coming! (To the others:) I’ve got a wild one now! Ughhh!

MELANIE   What’s his profession?

ISABELLA   Pssst! He’s a painter!

MELANIE & 3   Ughhh! - What’s his name?

ISABELLA   Kokoschka. Oskar Kokoschka.

U. S. ALMA   You'll live to see yourself in fifty years, when all those men who passed through your life will have left behind them an old wreck. You’ll live to see it!

They sing “Ich weiss nicht, zu wem ich gehöre”