Salome in English

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Post  hugo on Thu Oct 23, 2008 11:02 am

I have to admit approaching Salome in English - on Chandos's excellent new recording - with a certain trepidation. In the end it won me over but I was wondering what people feel about opera in English as a whole, whether on record or in the theatre. There's some repertoire where it seems to work really well (usually comedies) and other works where I really miss the colour of the original language (especially Puccini/Verdi).


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Post  Jngarratt on Fri Oct 24, 2008 5:12 pm

On the whole I now enjoy opera in the original language far more than opera in English. However, this was not always so, when I started (pre surtitles!) I really didn't know enough about the operas to follow them in the original language and so lost a lot of the enjoyment. I much preferred hearing them in English so I could follow the plot and laugh in the right places. Always assuming that I could hear the words of course... And I do enjoy really good translations even now. But, I think that a translation usually loses so much of the original texture that it is quite different to hearing the original version where the music and words fit.

I was at an insight day for cunning little vixen some time ago when there was a lot of unhappiness in the audience about the ROH decision to sing it in English. The audience was genuinely appalled at the patronising manner of the director who said words to the effect that "everyone speaks English, German and Italian, so operas in those languages are fine. But no-one speaks Czech and it would be too hard for you. You wouldn't put the work in or come to a performance". I'd never seen or heard the, rather polite, insight audiences scream before, but they did at that comment! And I was screaming with everyone else. How dared he!!! I certainly don't want other people making decisions about what language I want to listen in for me.

And I think that not all the discussion panel agreed with him, because they had a singer who could sing both language versions, and another panel member asked her to sing the same piece in English and in Czech so we could compare. And you could hear so much difference in tension and tempo when the original words and music were being sung, it was just so much richer. We had a vote and overwhelmingly the audience preferred the original language version.


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Post  crazzycat on Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:31 am

it is going to be something unusual


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