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Accurate Pronunciation of Operatic Passages in Lingua Franca

Date Submitted: 08-Mar-2006
From: Lawrence A. Rosenwald
Subject: Accurate Pronunciation of Operatic Passages in Lingua Franca
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Notice: Dear Colleagues,

I'm working on a production of André Campra's 1697 opera L'Europe Galante. The penultimate scene is set in Turkey (in a harem), and at one point a chorus of 'Bostangis ou Jardiniers du Grand Seigneur' sings some passages of 'paroles franques,' i.e., words in lingua franca, of which the opera libretto offers a rhyming translation.

Does anyone have any ideas about how these words should be pronounced? I myself am thinking they should mostly be pronounced as if Italian, but I'd be happy to be instructed otherwise.

Here are some sample passages:

Vivir gran Sultana
Unir li cantara
Mille volte exclamara

Bello como star un flor,
Durar quanto far arbor.
A l'enemigos su sciabola,
Como à frutas Tempesta.

La ruciada matutina
Far florir su Jardina,
Favor celesta Coprir su Turbanata

Star contento, Star, potento,
Del mondo star l'amor, ô lo spavento

En regnar, en amar, far tributir
l'Occidento L'Oriento,
En regnar, en amar, sempre sentir
plaer sensa tormento,

Dirè far, O disfar Subito Sù lò momento.

My thanks for any help anyone can provide - advice, books or articles to consult etc. - all the best,

Larry Rosenwald
Professor of English, Co-Director of Peace and Justice Studies
Wellesley College