On Translating Opera

Hugh Macdonald to speak for Center for the Humanities’ Translation Series Oct. 13

Hugh Macdonald, the Avis Blewett Professor of Music in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, will launch the Center for the Humanities’ 2004-05 Translation Series.

Hugh MacDonald

Macdonald will speak “On Translating Opera” at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13, in McMillan Café, Room 115 of McMillan Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public. A reception will follow. McMillan Hall is located off Throop Drive, on the university’s Hilltop Campus. For more information call (314) 935-5576.

Macdonald has translated two operas — Haydn’s Armida and Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers — for Opera Theatre of St. Louis and his translation Debussy’s Pelleas and Melisande has received several productions in England and the United States. Though sensitive to the special problems and consideration posed by musical translation, he also is aware of the potential benefits of adapting works to meet the temperament of today’s audiences.

Calendar Summary

WHO: Hugh Macdonald

WHAT: “On Translating Opera”

WHEN: 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13

WHERE: McMillan Café, Room 115 McMillan Hall

COST: free and open to the public

SPONSOR: Center for the Humanities’ Translation Series

INFORMATION: (314) 935-5576

“The worldwide trend towards singing opera and classical songs only in the original language is not to everyone’s taste,” Macdonald said. “There is a strong argument for singing in the language of the audience.”

Macdonald has published books on Berlioz and Scriabin and is founding editor of the New Berlioz Edition. A recipient of the Szymanowski Medal (Poland), he also has published numerous articles on 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century music.

The Translation Series, begun last spring, is an on-going series of lectures that explores the fundamental cultural importance of the act of translation from a variety of perspectives.