I was on the plane to Boston today, for Thanksgiving, and I started thinking about the problems I’m having writing Summer’s Twilight, my Midsummer chamber opera. I’m in the middle of re-thinking the way my scenes work based more around a small set of emotions. You see, if there are a lot of similarities among the characters’ emotions, I can limit the amount of thematic material I need, both making the music easier on the ears and making comparisons between different emotions at different parts of the piece. I was re-thinking some of those scenes, and scribbling down the outlines of them to write later. (That’s always a weird experience, planning a scene, and knowing what the difficult part of writing it will be, but not being able to write it right then. It makes me nervous.) The scene that I really figured out was the encounter in the woods between Hermia and Demetrius. Up until then, we’re thinking of Demetrius as a threat of forced marriage, and, eventually, rape. The last we saw of Hermia was this moment of terror when she woke up alone in the wood, abandoned by her Lysander (who ran off to court Helena, but that’s another thing). Demetrius confronts her, alone in the woods at night, this potential rapist. But all he does is sing a sappy love song, and wait. He’s like a pet dog who catches a squirrel and then doesn’t know what to do with it. Hermia doesn’t know anything about how to react. Demetrius seemed like a rapist, but turns out, at least in my version, to be a decent guy who has a crush, and doesn’t know what to do with it. How exactly Hermia reacts I still need to sort out, but figuring out that that’s what the scene’s about is a big help to stitching the plot of the show together.It’s weird being so excited about writing a piece this big for this long a time. I’ve been at this opera for a long long time, but I’m still pumped.