Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Sie kommt! Sie kommt! Sie kommt!


One of my favorite arias is 'O zittre nicht', given by die Königin der Nacht (Queen of the Night) in Mozart's opera Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute).

I tried finding a translation for it on the net, but couldn't find an exact one. So, as an exercise in German to English translation (and in using a dictionary) I thought I'd give it a go.

I took the libretto from Wikipedia here. As I said, it's just for fun, so don't come suing me if you are laughed off the stage at the New York Met if I've got it wrong.

O zittre nicht, mein lieber Sohn!
Premiered Vienna, 30 th September 1791
Music by Mozart
Words by Emanuel Schikaneder
Poorly translated by Andie Gilmour

O zittre nicht, mein lieber Sohn! - O tremble not, my beloved son!
Du bist unschuldig, weise, fromm; - you are innocent, wise, devout;
Ein Jüngling so wie du - a lad such as you
vermag am besten
Dies tiefgebeugte
Mutterherz zu trösten. - is the best thing capable of consoling this deeply saddened mother's heart.
Zum Leiden bin ich auserkoren, - I have been doomed to suffer
Denn meine Tochter fehlet mir; - for my daughter has left me
Durch sie ging all mein Glück verloren, - through her all my happiness has dissapeared
Ein Bösewicht entfloh mit ihr. - a villain has fled with her.
Noch seh' ich sie zittern - still I see her trembling
Mit bangem Erschüttern, - with fearful shaking
Ihr ängstliches Beben, - her anxious quaking,
Ihr schüchternes Streben. - her timid striving.
Ich musste sie mir rauben sehen, - I had to see her stolen from me.
Ach, helft! ach helft! war alles, was sie sprach. - Oh help me! Oh help me! was all she said.
Allein vergebens war ihr Flehen, - her pleading was for nothing and she was on her own
Denn meine Hilfe war zu schwach. - for my help was too feeble.
Du, du, du wirst sie zu befreien gehen, - you, you, you will go to liberate her,
Du wirst der Tochter Retter sein. - you will be (my) daughter's rescuer.
Und werd' ich dich als Sieger sehen, - and should I see you as a winner,
So sei sie dann auf ewig dein. - so shall she be eternally yours.
There's a good performance of this by Natalie Dessay on YouTube (follow this link) where you can have it in French too!

Next time, Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen! ('Hell's vengeance boils in my heart')

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