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The Legend of the Evening Star
The event took place on May 22nd and May 23rd 2005 at New York's "Acorn Theatre" on West 42nd St.
Eminescu's masterpiece "Legenda Luceafarului' ('The Legend of the Evening Star' in Adrian G. Sahlean's translation) was directed by Terrence Cristgau and choreographed by Raluca Georgiana on original piano music by Ion Ionescu. Actors Brian Kuchta and Patrick Murney were also part of the cast of this production of one of Eminescu's and Romanians' most celebrated poems.

Terrence Christgau


Catalina - Raluca Georgiana
Evening Star
Brian Kuchta
Catalin - Patrick Murney
Narrator - Terrence Christgau

Translated from
the original Romanian
by Adrian G. Sahlean
Music composed
& performed by
Ion Ionescu
Choreographed by Raluca Georgiana
Directed by Terrence Christgau

Ion Ionescu - Overture

The "Legend of the Evening Star" can be likened to a fairy tale for grownups. Its flowing lyrics, coherent story line, and the voices of several characters provided the structure for this presentation that was set to music and choreographed for remarkable dramatic effects. The photographs below highlight the visually stimulating moments of the show and are accompanied by selected text from the corresponding parts of the narrative in both English and the original Romanian.

The Legend
of the Evening Star

…Now once upon enchanted time,
As time has never been,
There lived a princess most divine
Of royal blood and kin.

Such beauty only heaven paints!
She walked in maiden bloom
As Virgin Mary ’mong the saints,
Among the stars, the moon.


A fost odata ca-n povesti,
A fost ca niciodata.
Din rude mari împaratesti,
O prea frumoasa fata.

Si era una la parinti
Si mândra-n toate cele,
Cum e Fecioara între sfinti
Si luna între stele

The solemn columns guide her gait
Through vaulted chambers, far
Where at the window will await
The lonely Evening Star....

She watched him rise to his fixed mark
And beams of light set free
To lead the ever-erring bark
Upon dark, moving seas.

Din umbra falnicelor bolti
Ea pasul si-l îndreapta
Lânga fereastra, unde-n colt
Luceafarul asteapta.

Privea în zare cum pe mari
Rasare si straluce,
Pe miscatoarele carari
Corabii negre duce.

Each night she watched, with growing love
That kindled sweet desire;
He, long-adoring from above,
Glowed with a hidden fire...

Îl vede azi, îl vede mâini,
Astfel dorinta-i gata;
El iar, privind de saptamâni,
Îi cade draga fata.

Her daydreams now all to him dart,
Head in her hands she rests
As yearning fills her soul and heart
And pains her maiden breast.

And he, oh, how he waits, aglow,
When dusk long shadows casts,
Above the castle where, below,
She will appear, at last.

Cum ea pe coate-si razima
Visând ale ei tâmple,
De dorul lui si inima
Si sufletu-i se împle.

Si cât de viu s-aprinde el
În orisicare sara,
Spre umbra negrului castel
Când ea o sa-i apara.

And step by step, along the trail,
He follows to her room,
Weaving a scintillating veil
With his cold sparks bestrewn.

Si pas cu pas pe urma ei
Aluneca-n odaie,
Tesând cu recile-i scântei
O mreaja de vapaie.

And from the mirror, bright embrace
Like snow falls to her feet,
On her closed eyes, in tilted face,
That pulse with secret beat.

Si din oglinda luminis
Pe trupu-i se revarsa,
Pe ochii mari, batând închisi
Pe fata ei întoarsa.

She looked at him and smiled, asleep;
He quivered in the glass,
For in her dream he followed deep
To reach her soul, alas!

Ea îl privea cu un surâs,
El tremura-n oglinda,
Caci o urma adânc în vis
De suflet sa se prinda.

And in her sleep, sweet pain she sighs
Wishing upon the star:
“Climb down to me from lonely skies
My night prince from afar!

On, gentle star, glide on a beam
To be with me tonight—
Come to my room, make true my dream,
My life fill with your light!”

Iar ea vorbind cu el în somn,
Oftând din greu suspina:
- O, dulce-al noptii mele domn,
De ce nu vii tu? Vina!

Cobori în jos, luceafar blând,
Alunecând pe-o raza,
Patrunde-n casa si în gând
Si viata-mi lumineaza!

And where he falls the waters flow
In circles large and free,
And a proud youth begins to grow
From unknown depth of sea.

“I leave my high sphere not with ease
To listen to your plea—
The sky above my father is,
My mother is the sea.

Si apa unde-au fost cazut
În cercuri se roteste,
Si din adânc necunoscut
Un mândru tânar creste.

- Din sfera mea venii cu greu
Ca sa-ti urmez chemarea,
Iar cerul este tatal meu
Si muma-mea e marea.

Oh, come along my priceless gem,
And leave your world with me—
The Evening Star above I am
And you my bride shall be.“

So handsome angel, as you are
Only in dreams I know,
But to the world that lies afar
I cannot ever go;

O, vin'! odorul meu nespus,
Si lumea ta o lasa;
Eu sunt luceafarul de sus,
Iar tu sa-mi fii mireasa

- O, esti frumos, cum numa-n vis
Un înger se arata,
Dara pe calea ce-ai deschis
N-oi merge niciodata;

For you speak words of lifeless breeze
And you are strangely clad;
Under your gaze my eyes would freeze,
For I’m alive, you’re dead.”

Strain la vorba si la port,
Lucesti fara de viata,
Caci eu sunt vie, tu esti mort,
Si ochiul tau ma-ngheata.

For in her dream he still abides
To fill her mind again;
And yearning for the lord of tides
Her bosom grips with pain:

“Oh, gentle star, glide on a beam
To be with me tonight;
Come to my room, make true my dream,
My life fill with your light!

Ea trebui de el în somn
Aminte sa-si aduca
Si dor de-al valurilor domn
De inim-o apuca:

- Cobori în jos, luceafar blând,
Alunecând pe-o raza,
Patrunde-n casa si în gând
Si viata-mi lumineaza!

The air’s alight with crimson gold
That sets the world ablaze,
And a proud youth begins to mould
From chaos of deep haze.

În aer rumene vapai
Se-ntind pe lumea-ntreaga,
Si din a chaosului vai
Un mândru chip se-ncheaga;:

“I come from high sphere not with ease
With faith anew to plight—
The sun above my father is,
My mother is the night;

Oh, come along, my priceless gem,
And leave your world with me—
The Evening Star above I am
And you my bride shall be!

- Din sfera mea venii cu greu
Ca sa te-ascult s-acuma,
Si soarele e tatal meu,
Iar noaptea-mi este muma;

O, vin', odorul meu nespus,
Si lumea ta o lasa;
Eu sunt luceafarul de sus,
Iar tu sa-mi fii mireasa

“So handsome daemon, as you are
Only in dreams I know,
But to the world that lies afar
I cannot ever go!

For with your cruel love you make
Strings in my bosom hurt…
My eyes are heavy and they ache,
Under your gaze are burnt.”

- O, esti frumos cum numa-n vis
Un demon se arata,
Dara pe calea ce-ai deschis
N-oi merge niciodata!

Ma dor de crudul tau amor
A pieptului meu coarde,
Si ochii mari si grei ma dor,
Privirea ta ma arde.

“But how else to appear at all?
Can you not comprehend,
You are a dying living soul
While I live with no end?”

- Dar cum ai vrea sa ma cobor?
Au nu-ntelegi tu oare,
Cum ca eu sunt nemuritor,
Si tu esti muritoare?

"But if you want me to be yours
And for your love to die,
Come, follow me and live on earth,
And dying be as I.”

Dar daca vrei cu crezamânt
Sa te-ndragesc pe tine,
Tu te coboara pe pamânt,
Fii muritor ca mine.

“You want the short day of a kiss
For my eternity—
And, yet, your love I would not miss,
So true it is to me.

Yes, out of sin I will be born
To follow other creed;
If to eternity I’m sworn,
Let from my oath be freed!”

- Tu-mi cei chiar nemurirea mea
In schimb pe-o sarutare,
Dar voi sa stii asemenea
Cât te iubesc de tare

Da, ma voi naste din pacat,
Primind o alta lege;
Cu vecinicia sunt legat,
Ci voi sa ma dezlege.

And he was gone…His sphere he left
In love with a mere child;
For days, the sky of light bereft,
His call to follow, wild.

Si se tot duce... S-a tot dus.
De dragu-unei copile,
S-a rupt din locul lui de sus,
Pierind mai multe zile.

And all this while, young Catalin,
A cunning palace page
Who into goblets wine pours in
At dinner for his wage,

With youthful cheeks like peonies
And ruddy as ripe fruit,
Steals close where Catalina is
And lingers in pursuit...

În vremea asta Catalin,
Viclean copil de casa,
Ce umple cupele cu vin
Mesenilor la masa,

Cu obrajei ca doi bujori
De rumeni, bata-i vina,
Se furiseaza pânditor
Privind la Catalina.

Oh, look how beautiful she’s grown,
Good Lord, so proud and fair;
Well, Catalin, now hold your own
And your good fortune dare.

And casual, in corner lone,
He takes her by the waist.
“What’s it you want? Leave me alone,
Go ’way, your time you waste.”

Dar ce frumoasa se facu
Si mândra, arz-o focul;
Ei, Catalin, acu-i acu
Ca sa-ti încerci norocul.

Si-n treacat o cuprinse lin
Într-un ungher degraba.
- Da' ce vrei, mari Catalin?
Ia du-t' de-ti vezi de treaba.

“What’s it I want? That you won’t live
With thoughts that laughter shun,
And that you smile—or better, give
A tender kiss, just one.””

“I know not what your mean! For love,
Go ’way and stay apart—
Oh, with the Evening Star above
Again I’m sick at heart.”

- Ce voi? As vrea sa nu mai stai
Pe gânduri totdeauna,
Sa râzi mai bine si sa-mi dai
O gura, numai una.

- Dar nici nu stiu macar ce-mi ceri,
Da-mi pace, fugi departe -
O, de luceafarul din cer
M-a prins un dor de moarte.

“If you know not, I’ll gladly teach
The lovers’ secret kiss…
But hold your ire, I beseech,
And listen kind to this:

Gently, as hunters lay their springe
To keep a bird in hold,
Your arms let on my shoulders hinge,
My hands your waist enfold;

- Daca nu stii, ti-as arata
Din bob în bob amorul,
Ci numai nu te mânia,
Ci stai cu binisorul.

Cum vânatoru-ntinde-n crâng
La pasarele latul,
Când ti-oi întinde bratul stâng
Sa ma cuprinzi cu bratul;

And so that you know love complete
And nothing be amiss,
When I reach for your lips to meet
My lips seal with a kiss.”

She lists in wonder to the boy,
All rapt in tender thought;
And shy and blushing, lovely, coy,
She’d run…yet she would not.

Si ca sa-ti fie pe deplin
Iubirea cunoscuta,
Când sarutându-te ma-nclin,
Tu iarasi ma saruta.

Ea-l asculta pe copilas
Uimita si distrasa,
Si rusinos si dragalas,
Mai nu vrea, mai se lasa

So left the Evening Star. His wings
Grew large across the sky
As thousand years of reach would spring
And at a wink go by;

A canopy of stars, below;
Above, a starry dome:
An endless lightning seemed to flow
And through the heavens roam;

Porni luceafarul. Cresteau
În cer a lui aripe,
Si cai de mii de ani treceau
În tot atâtea clipe.

Un cer de stele dedesubt,
Deasupra-i cer de stele -
Parea un fulger ne'ntrerupt
Ratacitor prin ele

And in the dark that flowed around,
As on the first day’s morn,
He glimpsed the chaos veils unbound
From where the light is born.

He flies aswim through seas of light
With love on wings of thought…
Until all perishes from sight,
Until all turns to naught;

Si din a chaosului vai,
Jur împrejur de sine,
Vedea, ca-n ziua cea dentâi,
Cum izvorau lumine;

Cum izvorând îl înconjor
Ca niste mari, de-a-notul...
El zboara, gând purtat de dor,
Pân' piere totul, totul;

He goes where there’s no bound or bourn,
Nor is there eye to know,
And time itself from voids uptorn
Struggles in vain to grow;

For there is naught, yet it is there,
A thirst that draws him on,
A depth that lingers, like the snare
Of blind oblivion…

Caci unde-ajunge nu-i hotar,
Nici ochi spre a cunoaste,
Si vremea-ncearca în zadar
Din goluri a se naste.

Nu e nimic si totusi e
O sete care-l soarbe,
E un adânc asemene
Uitarii celei oarbe.

“Father, from dark eternity
My burden now reverse—
And your name ever hallowed be
In all the universe!;

Immortal nimbus overturn,
From eyes remove the fire;
And, for all, give me in return
One hour of desire…

- De greul negrei vecinicii,
Parinte, ma dezleaga
Si laudat pe veci sa fii
Pe-a lumii scara-ntreaga;

Reia-mi al nemuririi nimb
Si focul din privire,
Si pentru toate da-mi în schimb
O ora de iubire...

To be a human is your call?
A man, is that your mind?
Oh, let the humans perish all,
Others would breed in kind.

Men merely live by stars of luck
And star-crossed fatefulness;
We have no death to prove our pluck,
Nor place or time possess.

- Hyperion, ce din genuni
Rasai c-o-ntreaga lume,
Nu cere semne si minuni
Care n-au chip si nume;

Ei doar au stele cu noroc
Si prigoniri de soarte,
Noi nu avem nici timp, nici loc
Si nu cunoastem moarte.

I’ll give you armies march their stride
To steal the world its breath;
Long ships upon seas far and wide—
But I won’t give you death!

And who to die for, now behold:
Of what awaits, beware!
Go back and watch that wand’ring mould
And heed to what lies there.”.

Îti dau catarg lânga catarg,
Ostiri spre a strabate
Pamântu-n lung si marea-n larg,
Dar moartea nu se poate...

Si pentru cine vrei sa mori?
Întoarce-te, te-ndreapta
Spre-acel pamânt ratacitor
Si vezi ce te asteapta..

So to his place of yesteryear
Hyperion arose,
And, as before, from destined sphere
His beam now overflows;

For it is dusk, the evening light
Has come the day to slake;
The moon appears in gentle white
And quivers in the lake...

În locul lui menit din cer
Hyperion se-ntoarse
Si, ca si-n ziua cea de ieri,
Lumina si-o revarsa.

Caci este sara-n asfintit
Si noaptea o sa-nceapa;
Rasare luna linistit
Si tremurând din apa.

And sparkles fall, a shimmer bright
On groves of wood unknown;
Under the linden trees at night,
Two young ones sit alone:

“Dear love, oh, let me gently lean
My brow upon your breast,
Under your rays of eyes serene
All my deep yearning rest;

Si umple cu-ale ei scântei
Cararile din crânguri.
Sub sirul lung de mândri tei
Sedeau doi tineri singuri:

- O, lasa-mi capul meu pe sân,
Iubito, sa se culce
Sub raza ochiului senin
Si negrait de dulce;

Bring to my thoughts the cold surcease
And charm of starlight dust,
And softly pour eternal peace
Into my night of lust.

Forever stay close and above,
My heart from pain redeem—
For you’re my first and only love,
My last and only dream!”

Cu farmecul luminii reci
Gândirile strabate-mi,
Revarsa liniste de veci
Pe noaptea mea de patimi.

Si de asupra mea ramâi
Durerea mea de-o curma,
Caci esti iubirea mea dentâi
Si visul meu din urma.

She, rapt in tender dreams of love…
Her eyes lift to the sky;
She sees the Evening Star above
And with new yearning sighs:

“Oh, gentle star, glide on a beam
To be with me tonight;
Come to my room, make true my dream,
My luck lead with your light!””

Ea, îmbatata de amor,
Ridica ochii. Vede
Luceafarul. Si-ncetisor
Dorintele-i încrede:

- Cobori în jos, luceafar blând,
Alunecând pe-o raza,
Patrunde-n codru si în gând,
Norocu-mi lumineaza!

As time before, on dales and woods,
He quivers ’mong the trees,
His light still guiding solitudes
Of ever-moving seas;

But would not fall again from sky
To sea, as yester day:

El tremura ca alte dati
În codri si pe dealuri,
Calauzind singuratati
De miscatoare valuri;

Dar nu mai cade ca-n trecut
În mari din tot înaltul:

“What do you care whether ’tis I
Or other, face of clay?

In human sphere of narrow lore
May that your luck will hold,
As I remain for ever more
In my eternal cold.”

- Ce-ti pasa tie, chip de lut,
Dac-oi fi eu sau altul?

Traind în cercul vostru strâmt
Norocul va petrece,
Ci eu în lumea mea ma simt
Nemuritor si rece.

The portions of 'The Legend of the Evening Star' exerpted above are meant as illustrations of the theatrical experience. The entire text of the poem can be found in the volume of Eminescu translations "Eternal Longing, Impossible Love," and the accompanying CD featured on this site

Curtain Call

Raluca Georgiana & Ion Ionescu

Adrian G. Sahlean & Patrick Murney

Learn more about this special project - four years in the making - by clicking HERE. You can also order it through this link. Part of the proceeds will be used toward finishing the ongoing projects presented on the 'upcoming events' page

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