Chapter published in:Opera in Translation: Unity and diversity
Edited by Adriana Şerban and Kelly Kar Yue Chan
[Benjamins Translation Library 153] 2020
► pp. 219–242
The intertwined nature of music, language and culture in Bartók’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle
Bartók’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle is characterized by a unique approach to the relationship between language and music: the latter endeavours to follow the natural flow of the Hungarian language, making the interpretation of its multi-layered meaning easier for the Hungarian audience but nearly incomprehensible for speakers of other languages. The nature of storytelling also follows ancient Hungarian traditions, rendering the translator’s task even more challenging.The paper investigates a number of contextual and musical aspects of opera translation through a case study of five English translations of Bartók’s classic. It discusses the multiple layers where music, language and culture are intertwined in this specific genre, and calls attention to often neglected musical and linguistic aspects of opera translation.
Keywords: opera, translation, Bartók, Duke Bluebeard’s Castle , singability, linguistic and cultural embeddedness
Published online: 29 October 2020
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