As a classically trained singer, I have been trained in the International Phonetic Alphabet so that I can sing in a myriad of other languages, some of which were required of me academically, others contractually, and some just because I wanted to. I have sung in
- Italian – multiple operas, art songs, etc.
- French – same
- German – lieder, operas
- Chinese – The Savage Land, Washington Opera (all I remember is a phrase that meant “go to hell through 18 layers of soil)
- Russian (although NOT as a soloist) – operas, ballet chorus, choral music
- Ladino – kind of a Hebrew/Spanish
- Estonian – mother’s native language
- Slovenian – father’s native language
There may be other languages in which I’ve sung that I don’t recall. But I’ve never sung solo repertoire in Spanish, Portuguese, or Russian. The latter is because of my parents’ virulent anti-Communist bent, where I was discouraged from doing anything even remotely Russian. My father asked me if I was a Communist because I wanted a red plaid jumper. My response was that I was only 6.
My plan is that I am going to prepare a recital of repertoire in languages in which I have not sung. I’m thinking either Spanish or Portuguese, Russian, and … Irish Gaelic. I have three poems in Irish Gaelic that I have had for years. I need to commission a composer to set them (currently working on getting pronunciation recorded by a native Irish speaker – surprisingly (or not) not an easy task). I thought I had someone lined up but she hasn’t seen fit to respond to my emails, so I need to move on to someone who is actually interested in the project.
I’m not sure what to call this program – right now it’s Outside the Box, but that’s not resonating with me at this point.