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11:57 

Legend of the Prince - thoughts on the first eight tracks

So, first off, my perspective on this is that of a listener who is not fluent in Russian. Aside from names, a few extremely common words, and loanwords, I cannot decipher the words in the songs by ear. Most of what I am reacting to when I listen is tone of voice, emotional content, and the other intangibles the singers bring to this. I am also listening with an ear towards translation. This cluster is the first I want to translate (possibly excluding Waltz).

Overture:
I'm not sure this stands on its own as well as it should. The music for the opera is strong, but it's stronger when it's backing the extremely strong vocals. It starts to lose me about at [Yuri's theme?], which I think isn't well-served by synth and makes me keep expecting the rest of Phantom of the Opera to turn up. Otherwise fine, though it ends a bit suddenly.

Night:
This is a excellent start. The clock chimes, the prince's vocals, especially Grishnov's vocals give it a very atmospheric feel. This is one of my top ten for the whole opera, and I'll do another post on translating it later.

Gallery:
Much more cheerful than the last one. It's easy to track the prince's emotional state throughout the song - his typically Russian fanboying of Ezar, his confident dismissal of Serg, and so on. Similarly a top ten.

Yuri the Mad:
Yuri's a little hard to hear to start but really blossoms. My mother, glancing over my shoulder, noted that his voice is very dramatic.The prince's scrambling confusion would be more convincing if he wasn't still rhyming - his bit seems a bit staged but is still entirely entertaining.

Illyan's Monologue:
Адеев is very convincing to me as Illyan. I admit to wondering why he seems to be narrating the opera from a windy moor somewhere. :)

It Is Regrettable to Know
This is another of my top tens. Ezar and Illyan play off each other beautifully, though I'm not fully convinced Illyan's role here is canonically appropriate. It really makes me want to hear the version of this with Ezar and Grishnov though. ;)

Waltz:
So my problem with this is that I don't understand why this is where it is in the opera from a plot standpoint. In the other libretto, it plays the obvious role of bringing us back in time to the past and introducing Ges. Here it plays neither role and is borrowed by entirely new characters. The Vortala plotline suffers enormously from bringing Kareen in early, because his proper introduction is cut and one begins to wonder why Serg is after Vortala when Illyan's the one singing duets with his wife. And why wedge more Illyan in here when he disappears in the second act except for abstract, not-really-there parts? I realize some may understandably prefer more Illyan to more Vortala, but it bothers me :) Given total liberty to rearrange stuff I would put this after Your Highness!, with the necessary tweaks.

Your Highness!
This is yet another of my top tens, for Ges the Prince's first friend who imho sounds like Ges ought to and Kareen particularly and the high enthusiasm of it all. This is my favorite Kareen part in the entire opera. From a plot standpoint, I think the lack of introduction for Vortala is a serious oversight and it would make way more sense to have Serg and Kareen come in together* as before, but that doesn't impact my appreciation of the music. When listening to the pure audio without reference to the lyrics, I've mistaken Vortala for the first friend once or twice as he comes in (later obviously not). Grishnov is also not quite as distinctive as usual.

("Ты обхохочешься! Дочка Гришнова в меня влюблена!" - and what's going on here? I want to know the story behind this.)

*making Ваше Высочество "Welcome, Your Highnesses", better scansion than I think I could get otherwise.

10:56 

Legend of the Prince - Yuri the Mad - Sandbox/Partial

Yuri the Mad

Yuri:

You seek your fate and you ask my portrait
Brave of you to ask - hear my answer if you dare!
I wonder, my prince, why you cannot sleep at night
Afraid you must answer for the sins of your fathers?

You are Vorbarra - thus your blood is cursed
And like us you must fear eternal torment...

21:41 

Legend of the Prince - Night - Translation Notes

NIGHT

The Prince:

The Residence is quiet in the night
Our guests have at last departed
I wander alone here in the dark
In the company of family portraits

Why does this crazy idea keep me awake
Troubling my mind, why did I listen
During the ball, when that smiling man said to me
Those strange, empty phrases...


The voice of Grishnov:

My prince, you have been foreordained from birth
To be the mighty ruler of three planets
And frankly I have often seen in you
The spirit of your sire's noble father
The resemblance is strikingly exact
Serg is remembered by all Barrayarans
A true aristocrat and champion
Who bravely fell against the Escobarans


The Prince:

Hardly, I suspect, a compliment!
To bring up that dark page of history
For who can tell us now which of the legends
Of Serg bear the slightest hint of truth

And still the Residence is quiet in the night
Silent darkness shrouds the rows of Imperial portraits
Can I ever learn the truth, when it's now
Like the poem long forgotten by the poet

Well! To continue with this nonsense
I salute you, Emperors of old!


1-4: The clusters of three beats are quite difficult to work with but I think this verse succeeds.
5: the odd translation of this verse is mostly to hit this rather musical line with the right stress
7: "smiling man" - not the most accurate possible translation but the one I think fits the song best.
14: I do see knight there. And "last knight" is perfectly acceptable in English. It just scans poorly, and I wanted to hit all four syllables of Барраяра. Replaced with champion in the line below.
15: Mr. Esty, who was a diplomat (or something) in the CCCP in the 1970s, also suggests "The image of a true aristocrat" for this line. Model aristocrat acceptable idiom in English, again doesn't really scan.
17: extremely shortened line, but it does scan to my ear. I try to match the obvious loanwords because otherwise the audio is extremely distracting.
20: but possibly "contain" for "bear"
22: a little fuzzy here
24: so in English, poem/poet, song/songwriter or lyricist. Picked what scanned better.
26: complete punt. творцы былых времен is extremely difficult to put in English in a meaningful and fluent way. Definitely a problem for the next song.

21:33 

An Introduction

"...but do you have any idea how *surreal* this all is from my point of view, when I stand back (all the way back to 1982, in fact) and squint...?"
— Lois McMaster Bujold, to me, re: the Russian fandom


My name is Tel. I am an American writer, artist, and translator for the Vorkosigan Saga fandom. Most of my fanworks can be found here. on the Archive of Our Own, where I am an amateur coder. Some translations into Russian of my fic that jetta-e did also live there. I am a native English speaker and mostly nonfluent in Russian (I have no formal training, although I refuse to let that stop me). Feel free to reply in either English or Russian to anything on this diary - I'll puzzle it out eventually.

My fannish circle has intersected the Russian Vorkosigan Saga fandom for quite some time. I created this diary to post about and discuss various aspects of that intersection. I am primarily here because I find you all vastly entertaining. :)

Translation Notes

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