Beyond All Price — Hester’s Lullaby

2008, Revised 2016 | soprano/piano.

From The Scarlet Letter. Libretto by David Mason (b.1954).

At the end of Act One, Scene Two of The Scarlet Letter, Hester is alone in her jail cell with her sleeping baby, having just been confronted by her estranged husband, whom she had until that day assumed was dead. This is the moment when her love for her daughter, Pearl, overwhelms her, and she vows to do everything in her power, despite the morality of her community and her husband’s desire for revenge, to protect and nurture her child. — David Mason 

Link to purchase the PDF is below. Click here to purchase a hard copy from

This aria is included in the Project Voce Moderna database, which helps singers connect with contemporary opera arias. Here is The Scarlet Letter page, where one can purchase the piano or vocal track.

If you have an older copy, please contact me for a complimentary updated score.


If you purchased this aria prior to 5.4.18, please amend Hester’s line as follows:

1-3 Piano: These first measures should be pedaled. My preference is to use one pedal for each measure.

10-11 Piano: the crescendo should lead into the downbeat in m. 11

14 — Piano: the downbeat should be relatively loud, and diminuendo to the mp. Then the crescendo should lead to the downbeat of 15.

15 — add mp at end of diminuendo.

18 — Piano: the crescendo should lead to the downbeat of m. 19.

24: add poco rit to this measure.

36  — add diminuendo to Hester’s line.

37 — Voice and Piano: dynamic should be mf.

46 — add forte to beat 2.

51-52 — Piano: erase the descrescendo and put it into m. 53 instead.

57 — erase dim.

58  — Voice — erase mf 58 of Hester’s part but the hairpin stays.

59 — erase f.

60 — Piano: the last note should be mp and in 61 the mf should be erased. 

62 — Voice: erase dynamic.

m. 66 — Voice: extend the descrescendo back to beat 2 of 65.

67 — add poco rit to this measure.