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“The Jewel Song” from Faust

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Ranko
Member
#21 · Posted: 15 Apr 2007 14:43 · Edited by: Ranko
Yep, this thread is so old I got a surprise when I saw I started it!. It's nice to revisit these things from time to time.

waveofplague
Maybe I am being over-analytical. But why isn't Castafiore singing this song in its original French?? Even when she sings for her friends, it's in English. I don't know a heck of a lot about opera at all BUT who sings in English at all?? Nobody! (Correct me if I'm wrong, but that is my perception.)

A good point and one I've never thought about. I'm like you in so much as I know very little about opera so I'm not sure if this is correct or not.
Were LLC and MT just making things a little easier for us?
waveofplague
Member
#22 · Posted: 15 Apr 2007 16:42
Ranko
Were LLC and MT just making things a little easier for us?

That is what I suspect, Ranko. I also suspect they didn't dwell on it as I am doing now. However, the Castafiore/Jewel Song thing has been of great interest to me.
jock123
Moderator
#23 · Posted: 16 Apr 2007 00:34 · Edited by: jock123
waveofplague
I wonder if the translator duo were THE FIRST to translate The Jewel Song into English.

No, not by a long chalk.

I don't know a heck of a lot about opera at all BUT who sings in English at all?? Nobody! (Correct me if I'm wrong, but that is my perception.)

Sorry, but your perception isn’t correct; opera is often performed in translation - not mentioning those operas which were written in English.
Here’s a list that someone made of a selection of recordings, including Faust.
waveofplague
Member
#24 · Posted: 16 Apr 2007 02:23
jock123: Sorry, but your perception isn’t correct; opera is often performed in translation - not mentioning those operas which were written in English.

Interesting. Which brings me to my next point: Which language do you think Bianca Castafiore would have sung the Jewel Song in? I personally don't know. Probably French, though.
dAileron
Member
#25 · Posted: 28 Oct 2009 01:02
I must be missing something. I've read the whole string and no one has mentioned the fact that the English lyrics Castafiore sings ("ah my beauty past compare, these jewels bright I wear") are not the lyrics of the Jewel Song by Faust, not by even a liberal definition of "translation". Can anyone explain this?

Here's what I found for the lyrics to the Jewel Song (only partial, in case publishing them here is verboten).

Ah, I laugh to see myself
so beautiful in this mirror,
Ah, I laugh to see myself
so beautiful in this mirror,
Is it you, Marguerite,
it is you?
Answer me, answer me,
Respond, respond, respond quickly!
No No! it's no longer you!
No...no,
it's no longer your face;
It's the daughter of a king...

(etc., etc., but nothing like the lyrics mentioned above)

Moderator Note: It would be seen as only polite for you to add a link to where you found these lyrics, and for the person who did the translation (if known) to be able to get the credit; otherwise it might be mistaken for straight piracy, and we wouldn’t want that!

The Tintinologist Team
jock123
Moderator
#26 · Posted: 28 Oct 2009 13:47 · Edited by: jock123
waveofplague:
Probably French, though.

This just seems to re-hash our previous discussion, and fly in the face of the fact that, in the English translations, she is singing in English...

dAileron:
the English lyrics Castafiore sings are not the lyrics of the Jewel Song by Faust, not by even a liberal definition of "translation".

I think you possibly have an illberal definition of translation, then! ;-)

You seem to be overlooking a number of issues: the translation you give doesn't rhyme, for example, and the original does - how would this affect the way it sounds and was sung? The French original has two lines of six syllables at the start, and this translation has seven then eight, which won't fit in the same way.

Your English version also just plods along absolutely literally - it has no poetry to it, and no sense of the music. For example, "beauty past compare" is poetic in a way that "so beautiful" just isn't.

Add to this that the character of Marguerite has to be expressed too, and how it fits into the particular scene, and the opera as a whole, and you will surely see that translating the libretto isn't just a question of putting the exact words into the exact slot, it is a case of fine tuning it until the words, music and story all come together to make a satisfying whole. This might mean that you end up with something close to the scheme of the original, or it might mean moving things around in the verses, or just going for a sense of the librettist's intention.

True, the version in the books might be better thought of as a free-, rather than a straight-, translation, but it does seem to be expressing the original fairly well to me.
catintinut
Member
#27 · Posted: 4 Dec 2009 14:06
I actually have a copy of this song on CD. Much more powerful sounding than this recording!!!! Another song in Tintin is the Toreador, en garde from Carmen. Sung by the museum gaurd in The Broken Ear. Another powerful piece!!!!
Gypsy
Member
#28 · Posted: 19 May 2010 05:36
Does anyone know which English translation of the Jewel Song is quoted in the books?

Since it does in fact rhyme and have a meter that could fit the music, it would seem that it was taken from an actual translation that was done for singing the opera or just the aria in English.

I have tried to find it, but all the translations I have found are different.

I have a 9-year-old student who wants to set the song to her own music using the words that she knows from Tintin, so I'd like to find the complete lyrics that they used, if they exist.

Does anyone have any clues?
jock123
Moderator
#29 · Posted: 19 May 2010 10:04 · Edited by: jock123
Gypsy:
Does anyone know which English translation of the Jewel Song is quoted in the books?

Sadly, as the discussion shows, there isn’t an identification for it as yet, and unfortunately there may never be.

Gypsy:
Since it does in fact rhyme and have a meter that could fit the music, it would seem that it was taken from an actual translation that was done for singing the opera or just the aria in English.

Michale Turner (one of the translators) was active in musical and theatrical productions for many, many years; I wouldn’t put it past him to have translated the piece himself, and with a feeling for the music. If that is indeed the case, he may only have made a selection from the text for the purpose of using it in the books, and taken it no further.
Sadly he is no longer with us to ask.
dAileron
Member
#30 · Posted: 19 May 2010 17:06 · Edited by: Moderator
I see under my last post a note from the Moderator suggesting I supply a source for the translation I excerpted, to avoid accusations of piracy. Great idea, but I now no longer remember where I found that (a downside of the googleability of everything). If Moderator deems it wise to remove my comment altogether, so be it.

Moderator Note: No, that'll be fine - it was just an aide memoire, as much as anything; it is difficult to remember sometimes in this cut-and-paste age that the info just doesn't come from nowhere, and that it's nice to acknowledge someone else's efforts.

Update: Actually, a simple bit of Googling did in fact find a source. It is described as a 'word by word translation", and is by Lea Frey.

The Happy Tintinologist Team

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