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Subject: Re: Boheme in English
From: kurt youngmann <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:kurt youngmann <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 20 May 2017 15:56:12 -0500
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For some inexplicable reason I generally don’t mind opera translated into languages other than their original - unless the translation is to English. I simply don’t like to hear English except in operas composed in it. (And not necessarily always then).  My dislike for English translation is especially the case with Viennese operetta which, as I’ve mentioned, is the music I grew up hearing because of my father’s Austrian background. Even though I’m not fluent in German, I just love the sound of the Viennese accented German in Lehar, Strauss et al. It sounds like family to me.

My one experience in a hodgepodge “Babel of languages” was a Munich “Butterfly” back in the early 60s. The soprano, an Italian, sang in the original while the rest of the cast used German. On that same trip I got to see a Stockholm “Butterfly” sung in Swedish and a “Rigoletto” sung in heavily accented Italian.

But the strangest example I’m aware of which, alas, I missed was the dual language 1957 “Mignon” in Chicago. Intended to be sung in French, the tenor (Simoneau?) cancelled and was replaced by Alvino Misciano who only knew his role in Italian. The Mignon, Giulietta Simionato, had sung her role in both French and Italian so she switched back and forth depending on who was on stage with her at the time. I’d welcome that elusive time machine we all wish existed so I could go back and hear that performance!

Kurt Youngmann

> On May 20, 2017, at 3:00 PM, R PRADA <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> Opera in the vernacular was the accepted practice in many countries for quite a time. Sometimes each singer sang their role in their native tongue, leading to a Babel of languages in a single performance,


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