Libretti and English Translations of Opera

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Opera

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Libretti and English Translations of Opera

Unless you’re fluent in the language of the opera’s libretto, it might be difficult to get more than the most basic idea of what’s happening onstage. Even if you’re in a house where subtitles appear on the chair in front of you, or a translation is provided in the program, most operagoers would rather immerse themselves in the performance than read along. Therefore, it pays to become familiar with the story before you go, and you can do this by finding libretti translations online. Spend a few moments perusing the text while you’re at home so you can truly experience the music and performances while you’re there.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • There’s been much debate over whether providing subtitles in an opera house compromises the integrity of the experience. The New York Times reported on the outcry when the English National Opera decided to implement them.
  • You’re here looking up libretti because so many are adamant that opera should not be translated and performed in English. Donald Pippin, the artistic director of the Pocket Opera in San Francisco, explains why he thinks it’s not such a bad thing. The Pocket Opera’s mission is to present opera in the clearest way possible.

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