Lost in Translation: Opera on Tap at Naked City, Sept. 17

Posted on September 09, 2015, 11:57 am
2 mins


If you are proficient in a second language, you’ve no doubt experienced the very distinct pain that comes from seeing terribly executed translations. In the hands of a poor translator, a beautiful Pablo Neruda poem becomes a clumsy stab at erotica, while Goethe’s Faust loses its poignancy and morphs into some sort of demonic farce.

Singers know this pain all too well. Some of the most gorgeous operatic moments come from the nuances, lilts, and cadences of the libretto’s original language and the beauty of a melody shaped particularly onto that text. Upon translation… well, sometimes it doesn’t turn out so well. Such is the theme of Opera on Tap’s September 17 show, “Lost in Translation,” which will feature the awkward English translations of operatic arias that are still–unbelievably and unfortunately–frequently performed.

Soprano Ksenia Popova at August's Opera on Tap. Photo by Holly Braithwaite.

Soprano Ksenia Popova at August’s Opera on Tap. Photo by Holly Braithwaite.

For those who think of full-length opera productions as tedious, unfamiliar, or too old-school, Opera on Tap is the perfect way to ease into an intimidating art. This nationwide nonprofit aims to bring beloved opera numbers to an audience that might not otherwise be exposed to the art. Smashing the image of the stereotypical (and perhaps insufferable) opera-goer, Opera on Tap tends to draw a more relaxed crowd who can appreciate a strong bellini just as well as a Bellini aria. The singers are local professionals, with ever-growing résumés that include various opera houses’ Young Artist Programs, apprenticeships and roles in shows worldwide.

Opera on Tap performs monthly at bars and venues around Seattle. Check out their Facebook page (and their fun Instagram) for details on upcoming shows.

Opera on Tap presents “Lost in Translation”

When: Thursday, September 17, 7:30 PM

Where: Naked City Brewery (8564 Greenwood Ave N)

Claire Biringer is a Seattle-based music lover, educator and writer. She holds an MA in Music History from University of Washington, where her primary research involved contemporary opera and its social implications. She enjoys using music and writing to build communities and broaden minds.