14a 1919 MASKED BALL WITH ALMA DOLL
MAHLER appears conducting an unseen orchestra,
playing the 3rd movement of his 1st symphony. Feierlich gemessen,
ohne zu schleppen. (Festive, and measured; no dragging.)
with rolled-up architect's sketches under his arm. He is followed
by Zemlinsky, Burckhard, and Klimt, all wearing various masks.
dressed as a young poet laureate. He recites his poem »Man
ALMA 1-3 appear
disguised as three Venetian courtesans, with bulging bellies
of pregnant women in their eighth month. Bona sera, Signor
are these women?
you know them? They are famous Venetian courtesans.
ALMA 2 I
heard you were throwing an extraordinary party?!
ALMA 3 A
kind of christening party?!
ALMA 1 Where
is this wonderful masked ball's guest of honor?
Here's the Person in person!
ALMA 2 Oh!
Look, what a gorgeous doll!
ALMA 3 I
bet she's one of your former mistresses?!
no, she is my great, unforgettable love of my life!
ALMA 1 She
looks like a live copy !
is not a live copy. She's the original! This is all she was.
ALMA 1-3 Oh!
Do you sleep with her?
Not any more. But I used to do.
I'm so jealous! All I was only ever allowed to do was to read
too. She only let me kiss her. But that kiss will linger in
my memory for ever!
weren't much better for me: she only let me caress her. But
she always refused me the ultimate!
dear friends, then your hour has come ! Yes, yes! Use it!
She's yours! She is at your service, body and soul! Dispose
of her and do with her whatever you wish. Whatever you desire!
And don't spare her a thing! Don't spare her a thing! You
hear me? Nothing! - Now, Let's all dance!
Zemlinsky, Burckhard, Klimt, and all Alma's lover's and husbands
court the Alma-Doll manipulated by Reserl, wooing her, and
she offers herself to them. Kokoschka is drawing fast sketches
of the scenes. The event develops into an orgy.
Kill Alma! Go on! Yes, Alex, kill her! Come on Gustav! Kill
Werfel is fascinated by the three Alma-Courtesans. He drags
them to a corner and gets involved with them, while the others
go messing around with the doll. As Werfel is wildly abusing
the Almas, they keep yelling:
ALMA 1-3 Oh!
Franz! Oh! You're molesting me! You're killing me!! Don't!
Don't!! Don't spare me! Oh, fais moi mal, Franz! Fais moi
vais te faire mal! Je vais te faire mal!
ALMA 1-3 Oh
yes! J'aime l'amour qui fait mal! Oh murderer! Oh, you're
killing your own baby! Oh! Do it! Kill me! Kill him! Kill
At a certain point Gustav Mahler decapitates the doll. Everybody
leaves, except Kokoschka, Reserl and U.S. Alma, who has watched
the whole Masked Ball in bewilderment. The place is now illuminated
only by moonlight. It's the scenery of Kokoschka's »Windsbraut«
(»The Tempest«). Reserl undresses in front of