Schöne Fremde: Be Aware of the Emotions

Tenor Luciano Marazzo at a recital
Tenor Luciano Marazzo at a recital

This interview with tenor Luciano Marazzo follows last week’s analysis of the Lied “Schöne Fremde” which included his recording of the song. He speaks about his preparation of the text and what challenges of language and pronunciation he had to master.

Mr. Marazzo was born in Buenos Aires. He lives in Moscow, Idaho, and holds a Masters degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Arizona. As founder and CEO of the Online Music Guild he has been reaching out to classical musicians around the globe who want to study their art on a reliable internet platform.

Q: As an Argentina-born singer, what other languages besides Spanish and English do you speak?

Luciano Marazzo: In Argentina I spoke only Spanish and Italian. I did learn English but I did not get to speak it fluently until I moved to the US. For my vocal studies, I ended up learning French, German, and Russian, basically for the sake of pronunciation.

Q: Why did you choose “Schöne Fremde” for the recital?

Luciano Marazzo: “Schöne Fremde” is a lied written by Robert Schumann. The poem is by Eichendorff, and I had a set of three selections from Liederkreis Opus 39 by Schumann. The recital was in Tucson, Arizona, and it granted me a Masters in Voice from the University of Arizona.

Q: How did you prepare the text? Did you read a translation?

Luciano Marazzo: My professor Grayson Hirst emphasized in his coaching mostly diction, so I got to work on it a lot. I also went to the German department and bought coffee for some of the adjunct professors.

Q: Italian coffee, I guess?

Luciano Marazzo: Well, some of them asked for Americanos. I can’t force them to teach me good German and drink Italian coffee.

Q: What were the challenges in diction? Were there words or phrases that were particularly difficult?

Luciano Marazzo: I would say that the three big challenges were the following.

First, as a younger singer, I was still trying to understand the challenge of anticipating the attack of the consonants and making them crisp to get the vowels to float on the beat. This was not very hard but it does require artistry. That’s why German is such a beautiful language when sung correctly.

Second, memorizing was not hard but having the awareness for the emphasis of the emotions was crucial, which means making it look and sound as a natural delivery of the German poem. The challenge was to get the act together as if I were really speaking out the words.

Third, one of the challenges about the notes above G (Sol) is “aggiustamento”. The word “trunken” is on a g# and it required modifying the vowel “u” to and open “a”. This makes the high notes higher but it requires some style not to over-do the emphasis so it does not sound like “tranken”.

Here again is Luciano Marazzo’s recording:

More information about Luciano Marazzo: and

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Bernd Hendricks. Born in Duisburg, Germany. Based in Berlin. Writer, German Language Educator. I was six years old when I went to the opera for the first time. My Grandma took me to Hänsel und Gretel at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Duisburg. The first time I met an opera singer personally was during my time as foreign correspondent in New York when at a Christmas party a baritone pelted me with questions about the language of Zauberflöte. He was preparing for his role as Papageno. After my return to Berlin in September 2010, I have been giving German lessons to singers on their audition tours. My workshops in Berlin, Vienna, and London are based on my widely read book Ach, ich fühl’s—German for Opera Singers in Three Acts: Studying, Speaking, Singing. My latest book, Die Frist ist um—Navigate the Language of 10 German Operas, takes you on a journey through the language of the most popular and often performed operas in the German-speaking countries. I am also the author of several non-fiction books and two novels.

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