Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Opera is a multilingual art!

Foreward: This post was originally written in February 2010; circumstances are two years old while the learning has no expiration date.

I attended a conference at the Italian Cultural Institute in Paris, featuring Italian Maestro Evelino Pidò, one of the main contemprary orchestra conductors, and rising star French soprano Natalie Dessay (currently producing 'La Sonnanmbula' by Bellini at the Paris Opera House). They discussed the role that opera played in forging a cultural unity for Italy, before the official political one was proclaimed 151 years ago.
The discussion was fascinating, but one facet that emerged and that I would like to share is the intrinsic international (and multilingual) dimension of contemporary opera productions: artists, musicians, music directors and artistic directors for each representation come from a plethora of different countries, each with their cultural baggage and experience; they are all bilingual or trilingual professionals. Music, and their passion for it, indeed, provides the common language needed to achieve the necessary alchemy and reach a common goal and final product: the show. Yet ,operas are sang in a handful of languages: Italian, German, Russian, French being the dominant ones. Hence, the artists multilingual skills  (tenors, sopranos, and the like) are almost a necessity and certainly an advantage, to reproduce  perfectly the original sounds. It has often occurred to me to praise the perfect diction in Italian of Asian or Eastern European opera singers: it is certainly a result of hard work and extreme professionalism, but also that extra gear that multilingual individuals can count on!

3 comments:

The European Mama said...

Hello, I have just found your blog! I am raising my girls to be trilingual (I am Polish, my husband is German, and we live in the Netherlands). We are using the OPOL method.Also, I agree with you how beautiful- and multilcultural opera is- after all I was named Olga after Tschaikovski's opera "Oniegin".

Sarah @ Baby Bilingual said...

Hi Clo! How are things going for your quadrilingual family? I hope you'll be sharing more soon!

Carrie Lynn said...

Hi, Clo! I'm just curious if you have resigned from blogging all together or if there is hope that you will one day come back and continue updating this blog.