En français, in italiano

Thanks to le blogue de Rana en français, I see that this blog, in French, is Opéra de ménage. C’est drôle, n’est-ce pas?

Did I ever post about Edward Gorey’s The Blue Aspic, which recounts the rise of a soprano named Ortenzia Caviglia and the parallel decline of Jasper Ankle, her most insanely devoted fan? The made-up opera titles and arias, when translated into English, are hilarious. Ortenzia appears in operas entitled La Reine des Iguanes [The Queen of the Iguanas] and Gomiti di Rammarico [Elbows of Regret], and sings arias like "Una tazza di cacao" ["A cup of cocoa"] and "Ah, paese dei bovini hispidi!" ["Oh, land of the shaggy cows!"]. Which leads me to formulate a theory: nearly anything can sound at least vaguely operatic if you translate it into Italian, German, or French.

And because I’m feeling lazy, I think I’ll make this an audience-participation post: come up with a silly or mundane or random English phrase, post it in the comments, and I’ll do my best to turn it into the first line of an imaginary aria. (Or post your own foreign-language phrases if you like.) Best pseudo-aria gets…er, I don’t have any prizes to give away, sorry, but you can bask in glory nonetheless!

Any takers?

(Also: I’m currently listening to this recording of Mozart’s Mitridate, Rè di Ponto on the Sunday Opera Matinee, and oh, Cecilia Bartoli, I love you madly. Natalie Dessay, you too.)

6 Responses to “En français, in italiano”

  1. Bane says:

    I don’t know Italian, but I suspect that nearly any 80s pop-song title would sound suitably operatic in that language. How about “Like a Virgin” or “Cold-Hearted Snake” or “She Blinded Me with Science”?

  2. Rana says:

    The chicken, she is laying.
    A dog walks on tiptoe.
    The woman swoons, holding an orange.
    Under the moon, a man and a child weave cloth.
    (This feels like some perverse grammar exercise.)

  3. Heather says:

    Soggy snow melts
    She who hoards yarn
    Book shelves crashed down, as the cat
    Worried birds overhead
    Must dash–need to find a copy of Blue Aspic to sit next to my Gilded Bat.

  4. MisterBS says:

    The pruning of the misshapen trees.
    Beneath a cow’s udder.
    Paper cups and rubber gloves.

  5. Amanda says:

    Let’s see:
    Come vergine (or: Comme une vierge)
    Il serpente al cuore freddo
    Mi accecò colla scienza
    La gallina fa le uova
    In punta di piedi va il cane
    Uomo e bambino sotto la luna intrecciano il tessuto
    La femme à l’orange s’evanouit
    Fond la neige saturée
    L’accumulatrice di filo
    Les étagères s’écroulaient pendant que le chat…
    Gli uccelli ansiosi in alto
    Le cisaillement des arbres grotesques
    Sotto la mammella della vacca
    Tazze di carta e guanti di gomma
    I think my favorites so far are “A dog walks on tiptoe” and “The pruning of the misshapen trees.”

  6. Rana says:

    Hee! Let the Surrealist Opera commence! 🙂