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Willard Spiegelman

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195368130

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195368130.001.0001

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The Rake, The Don, The Flute

The Rake, The Don, The Flute

W. H. Auden as Librettist (1982)

(p.90) Six The Rake, The Don, The Flute
Imaginative Transcripts

Willard Spiegelman

Oxford University Press

This chapter criticizes Anglo-American poet W. H. Auden's translation of the opera The Rake's Progress, Magic Flute, and Don Giovanni. It suggests that Auden's translation of the opera has given the lie to his earlier pronouncements that the verses which the librettist writes are not addressed to the public but are really a private letter to the composer and that in opera the orchestra is addressed to the singers not to the audience. It contends that The Rake's Progress has overcome the label of being merely an exercise in imitation because its music, especially music wedded to words, offered a chance for something different.

Keywords:   opera translation, W. H. Auden, The Rake's Progress, Magic Flute, Don Giovanni, librettist, composer, orchestra, music

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