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Next Issue Peter Scupham at 85: a celebration Contributions by Anne Stevenson, Robert Wells, Peter Davidson, Lawrence Sail

This interview is taken from PN Review 233, Volume 43 Number 3, January - February 2017.

The Making of Dream Hunter Nicola LeFanu
DREAM HUNTER IS A chamber opera for four singers and chamber ensemble (seven players), with music by Nicola LeFanu and libretto by John Fuller, duration c. 55 minutes, commissioned by the
Mornington Trust, premiered winter 2011.

The setting is early-twentieth-century Corsica. Men can have an active, outdoor life, while women are secluded, domestic. But some women find they are gifted with ‘second sight’, with the prescience of death: they are mazzere. In their dreams they hunt and kill – hare, deer or wild boar. Then someone in their village falls sick or dies. To have the power of the mazzere is a dubious honour. If they foresee death, do they also cause it?

In the dilapidated farmhouse of Domenico, a widowed small-holder, his daughters Angela and Catarina prepare the evening meal. Angela, the elder sister, hopes that tonight will confirm her betrothal to Sampiero, son of the local mayor; she is anxious to make a good impression. Catarina’s thoughts are far away: last night she had a strange dream of hunting in the hills and wounding a hare. She is horrified that most of her father’s land will go to Sampiero as Angela’s dowry; and she has reason to know that this urbane young man is a philanderer. Sampiero has secrets of his own: a gambler, he is in debt to Domenico.

Sampiero arrives early to see the girls – a breach of convention. But Domenico returns with wild boar shot out of season, a worse transgression. As night falls, the men turn to brandy; the women ...

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