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Textens transfigurationer

This thesis focuses on the opera text enlightened from four different perspectives: the translator, the librettist, the composer and finally the singer, based on the author’s thirty years of professsional practice, in the spirit of Donald A. Schön’s study from 1983: The Reflective Practitioner; How professionals think in action. The method is basically hermeneutic and the esthetics inspired by Umberto Eco’s Opera Aperta (”The Open Work”) from 1962. Questions from within the perspective of the translator are: In what ways does opera translation differ from other forms of translation, and how does an opera translator work? What is the history of “opera in the ver-nacular” compared to “opera in original language” and are singable translations needed whatsoever in the modern era of subtitling? The perspective of the librettist examines the opera form’s SWOT-analysis, the differences from other “storytelling” art forms, the task of making an adaption compared to choosing to create an original plot, the matter of taste and building the form from dramaturgical principles, the shaping of aria texts, the importance of tight collaboration and cutting, cutting, cutting (“a libretto cannot be short enough” Edgar Istel, 1922). The composer’s perspective contains practical and theoretical words of advice and examples from practice, together with a so ”think aloud”-study from within a composer’s thought process while working. The final chapter, from the singer’s perspective, focuses on whether modern vocal ideals and singing “in original language”, with subtitles, together with expanding performance halls, have made opera text harder to perceive, and rendered earlier established texting techniques forgotten or obsolete. The answers to all these questions are complex. This thesis concludes that the opera form is still expanding, but not necessarily in the direction of creating a new, contemporary canon. “There are about 600 opera houses in the world, all are ‘National Galleries’, none is the Tate Modern” (Per-Erik Öhrn, 2012), but there are also opportunities. Almost all successful new opera productions in recent years have their librettos written in English, a language traditionnally regarded as “weak” in the field of opera. Opera audiences worldwide are nowadays accustomed to hearing and understanding sung English words and comprehending a dramatic context when expressed in English, thanks to 100 years of Anglo-American dominance in popular music and about 50 years of dominance in television and films.
Date January 2015
CreatorsForssell, Jonas
PublisherStockholms konstnärliga högskola, Operahögskolan, Konstnärliga fakulteten vid Lunds universitet, Stockholm : Konstnärliga fakulteten vid Lunds universitet
Source SetsDiVA Archive at Upsalla University
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeDoctoral thesis, monograph, info:eu-repo/semantics/doctoralThesis, text

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