I'd like to think that it would have made a difference for me: I've experienced this several times at the Coli and it always has.
Originally Posted by ardcarp
It works the other way round as well. I recall a newspaper review of a Les Troyens (in French) at Covent Garden at which Janet Baker was a last-minute stand-in (in English). The critic wrote of how her first words were greeted by an "unaccustomed thrill of comprehension which rippled around the auditorium".
Last edited by Bert Coules; 30-03-12 at 22:40.
Oh, I can't let that go, serial! All languages are beautiful when spoken (and sung) properly, and the superficially less attractive ones (to English people who don't know them well), like, say, German, Russian and Hungarian, even more so. To be honest, Italian seems to me all mouth and no trousers, so to speak.
Originally Posted by Serial_Apologist
It never really happens nowadays but I do think there is something to be said for singing your own language. I first came across some classic examples of this on Keith Hardwick's 78rpm transfer box that came out on LP in 1982 (later also on CD). Plunkett Greene's Leiermann in English, was a knockout, also Lev Sibiriakov in Russian. Here's his Russian "Aufenthalt":
As well as hearing the singers producing sounds that come naturally to them, you also get a new perspective on the song... which can certainly be said of this French Erlkönig with orchestra and three voices, including a boy treble with some piquant French nasal twangs as the doomed child, and a smooth, seductive tenor as the Erlkönig:
Chaliapin adds some dark Russian melodrama and an outrageous last low note to "Death and the Maiden".
I treasure the memory of that night, Bert, which happily is available on CD or as a download from sunny California on the Opera Depot label:
Originally Posted by Bert Coules
Gurnemanz, do you (or does anyone) know of a recording of Erlkönig in English? I've never come across one.
Chris, thanks for that information. My own most vivid Trojans recollection, though nothing to do with language, is from the night Alberto Remedios stood in for Jon Vickers (the show was by then being sung in English throughout, a rare moment of dramatic sanity from the Royal Opera House). The staging had Aeneas' sailors loading up his ship while he sang his "To Italy" aria from downstage centre: Remedios, who evidently hadn't seen the production before he stepped onto the stage, looked around for the most commanding position for the big solo and decided it was halfway up the long, sloping, narrow gangplank. His composure was admirable when he turned to sweep off at the end and found a long patient queue of heavily laden sailors neatly lined up, stretching from where he was standing to way off in the wings.
Originally Posted by Bert Coules
Thanks for the prompt. I found a YouTube clip featuring a powerful version from the great Lawrence Tibbett in resonant baritone, live + orchestra, including some nice characterisation of the boy and the erlking. Worth a listen.
Whilst we are in the mood for Lawrence Tibbett here is his superbly terrifying version of Carl Loewe's Edward
Be warned: there is a long pause before the music begins. It is worth the wait though.