The night is young
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Libretto/Lyrics/Text/Testo:(It is the evening of the first day. The Americans are
being feted in the Great Hall of the People. Outside,
the roof is outlined by strings of lights, inside there
are tables set for nine hundred. Against the far wall
a small dais supports a bank of microphones. The
American and Chinese flags are pinned against that
wall. The President and the First Lady sit on either side
of the Premier, their backs to the flags, and gaze across
a snowy field of table linen. There is their party, there
the newsmen, there the important Chinese. In the
distance the vision begins to blur. The atmosphere is
convivial; in that huge hall the President feels strangely
joyful and lightheaded, as if this were the evening of
arrival in heaven. And so the conversation rises and
falls throughout the courses of the banquet)
The night is young.
A long, long trail unwinding towards my dreams,
uphill right to the very last frontier,
and then we’re home. I love you dear.
You must be worn out.
No, I washed and rested,
so I feel refreshed.
This air agrees with me.
Wish we could send some to D.C.
I’ve never felt so good.
I saw a snow moon on our way here. Snow!
Snow over China! Think of that!
It makes me shiver.
Just you wait until the toasting starts.
Between the booze and praise you’ll warm up then.
It may go to my head.
It may, and I might be a Russian spy.
You saw the moon in clouds and forecast snow.
Be a peacemaker, Premier Chou.
All Mrs. Nixon says is true enough.
The pressure’s falling fast.
I feel it in my bones.
At least this Great Hall of the People
stands like a fortress against
the winds whatever their direction.
Yet the west wind heralds spring.
I doubt that spring has come.
Take a deep breath and you can taste it. It’s the truth.
Although there’s more snow still to fall,
the spring’s as good as here.
Meanwhile we sit together in the cold.
Huddled for warmth you mean?
But could we not take some encouragement
from this appearance of détente?
He can’t hear you. He’s miles away.
A Frenchman once observed to me
"At the edge of the Rubicon men don’t go fishing".
I know one statesman who thinks a fishing trip
will help him land the Great White Hope.
Intelligence is no bad thing.
It’s Henry’s trump card. This stuffs strong poison.
A universal cure, or so we call it over here.
(After the third course is finished, Premier Chou
rises to toast his American guest)
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