Do go and see Opera North’s new production of The Marriage of Figaro this spring, sung in English in this fabulous translation by Jeremy Sams. The pleasures of the characterisation, the intricacies of the plot, the soaring arias and and cunning staging were all heightened for me by the witty and contemporary rendering into English. The excellent and value for money programme contains much of interest on the history of the opera, master -servant relationships, Mozart’s women, but also a piece by Jeremy Sams on the challenges of translating opera. Some of these must be akin to the challenges of translating poetry, such as honouring Italian rhyme and rhythm in the translation, but he also says he has to consider the director’s overall ‘vision’ for the production and have the translation showing the singer’s range to good effect. An amazing challenge which he outlines in the illuminating programme notes and meets brilliantly on stage! See Opera North website for the full version.
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