Gian Carlo Menotti, libretto
Gil Rose, conductor
Anthony Cornish, director
Carole Charnow, producer
Presented by BMOP and the Boston Academy of Music
After being left by her lover, Anatol, Vanessa has spent 20 years in her country house. She has kept the house shut up, with all of the mirrors covered. Her mother, the Old Baroness, will not speak to her, and her only companion is her niece, Erika. As the opera opens, they are preparing for the return of Anatol. He is sighted coming towards the house, and Vanessa sends everyone else away. As soon as he arrives at the door, she declares her love for him—then faints when she discovers that the man on the doorstep is not her long-awaited lover. He is, he explains to Erika, Anatol's son. His father has died, and he has come to meet the woman whose name haunted his father and mother. Anatol, left alone with Erika, seduces her. A month later, Erika learns that he has been making advances to Vanessa. She confronts him, and he offers to marry her, but, offended by the flippancy with which he has proposed, and worried about Vanessa, she rejects him.
At the party where Vanessa and Anatol's engagement is announced, Erika reveals to the Old Baroness that she is pregnant with Anatol's child. In her distress she runs away from the house and causes herself to miscarry. A search party sent out by Vanessa brings Erika back.
Vanessa, still unaware of Anatol's liaison with Erika, marries him, and they leave together. Erika, left alone in the house with her grandmother, who now will not speak to her, orders the mirrors covered again and the gates closed and locked, just as before.