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Thread: Favorite Operatic language?

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    Default Favorite Operatic language?

    Hello, I'm new here and only recently got into Classical music, and so I don't know if this has already been exhaustively discussed, but I was recently wondering, what language sounds best in an opera? Of course, this'll be pretty subjective, but I've discovered that in general, I like German-language opera the best.

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    It has been discussed before, but not exhaustively.

    I find in general that people with English as their first language prefer French/Italian/German/Russian because when we grow up and hear opera, we almost always hear it in a foreign language because of English's late start being used as an operatic language. I think the association is false though, and contrary to what many people say, I find English to be an intensely beautiful language. Owing both to its extreme malleability and also its sheer size, I prefer it for opera as well as poetry and prose.

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    Hello Alberich & welcome to the forum.

    As you can maybe guess from the username & avatar my favourite opera language is Italian. With nearly every word ending in a vowel the Italian language is just made to be sung.

    Second is Russian (I find those deep dark Russian voices sooooo sexy ), then French. I just can't seem to like German at all & I know I am missing out on a huge slice of repertoire but, hey, thank goodness we don't like all the same thing.

    Do you have a favourite composer?
    Ann

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    Beethoven and Wagner.
    Every time I listen to The Ring I'm in awe of the magnitude of Wagner's artistic achievement. Writing the whole 15+ hours in an ancient alliterative Germanic poetic technique was the icing on the cake.
    Last edited by Alberich; Dec-22-2011 at 20:10.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alberich View Post
    Beethoven and Wagner.
    Every time I listen to The Ring I'm in awe of the magnitude of Wagner's artistic achievement. Writing the whole 15+ hours in an ancient alliterative Germanic poetic technique was the icing on the cake.
    You'll find plenty of fans of those composers on here.

    You really ought to try some bel canto froth you know, just for a change.
    Ann

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    I think I'll go for German and English. Britten's English chamber operas are marvellous as is Brett Dean's opera "Bliss." That last one uses a fair bit of Aussie slang too.

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    Ever since I heard Mozart's Queen of the Night Aria, I've always loved German operas.

    I never liked English as an operatic language. I know people that think it's downright wrong. I like whatever sounds good and I just really don't like English operas.

    Mozart's Queen of the Night Aria from the Magic Flute
    I can't play any etude.

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    For my "attempt" opera (that I have now abandoned) I originally wanted a German libretto. But since I couldn't find a good German librettist that easily, I set about writing an English one. I have left it in the middle of Act 2 scene 2 and I doubt I will ever go back to it.

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    I probably like Italian best as a language for opera, even though two of my favorites -- Fidelio and Die Zauberflöte -- are in German, and I speak German but not Italian.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ComposerOfAvantGarde View Post
    For my "attempt" opera (that I have now abandoned) I originally wanted a German libretto. But since I couldn't find a good German librettist that easily, I set about writing an English one. I have left it in the middle of Act 2 scene 2 and I doubt I will ever go back to it.
    Why did you abandon it?
    Natalie

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    Probably German, as I speak it a bit and therefore can more readily understand it. However, been warming alot more to Italian in the last few months

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    Quote Originally Posted by mamascarlatti View Post
    Why did you abandon it?
    It just didn't work. My style changed during the course of writing music for the first act, so I completely restarted it. Then the story started to annoy me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alberich View Post
    Of course, this'll be pretty subjective, but I've discovered that in general, I like German-language opera the best.
    Yah! I like da Germans too!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alberich View Post
    I like German-language opera the best.
    I agree... but that doesn't mean that German is my favorite language for opera. It would probably be too sharp to say that many of the accomplishments of Mozart, Weber, Wagner, R. Strauss were accomplished in spite of the German language-- but the point remains that I like German opera preponderantly for what the composers did with the music.

    Hopefully, I won't have to turn in my Wagner Society Membership Card for saying it... but I agree with sospiro that Italian is the superior operatic language.

    I see little reason why Spanish couldn't be an effective operatic language in the same fashion as Italian, but the tradition of Spanish composition isn't in the same ballpark as the Italian tradition. Because of that lack, I'd have to say French is my next most favorite "language-for-opera."
    The hardest knife ill us'd doth lose his edge. Shakespeare- Sonnet 95

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    I must find a Japanese librettist for a future opera in Japanese. Been watching a lot of Japanese films recently.

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