1. How should I your true love know?
2. Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s day
3. And will ‘a not come again?
In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, the young Ophelia is torn between her duty to her father and her love for Hamlet. She finds it impossible to reconcile the contradictory selves her men demand of her. With an increasing sense of foreboding, her desperation leads to despair, then madness.
My Songs of Ophelia are fragments taken from Act 4 Scene 5 of the play, when Ophelia’s insanity is revealed to other characters and to the audience. She sings of chaos, death, and unrequited love. King Claudius and Queen Gertrude both try to speak with her, but Ophelia only replies unintelligibly. The songs traverse a wide emotional range, leaping abruptly between extremes of mood and character.