Workshop: The Linguistics of Ariadne auf Naxos

In this house in Berlin on Heerstraße 2 in Charlottenburg, near Theodor-Heuss-Platz (U2), Richard Strauss wrote Ariadne auf Naxos in 1916. A little bit than 100 years later, we will talk about the language of this opera – in Berlin as well, on Ganghoferstraße 2 in Neukölln, near Karl-Marx-Straße (U7).



The fourth workshop of the series “German for Opera Singers” has the topic:

Seien wir wieder gut – The Linguistics of Ariadne auf Naxos

Goal: The participants will understand the language of the libretto, the vocabulary and its subtleties, and how meaning, emotions and attitudes are expressed in the structure of sentences.

Content: Using chosen arias and excerpts of recitatives we will examine

- personal pronouns (Er, dero etc.) and what kind of relationships they reflect between the characters,
– word order (involving dative, accusative etc.) and where the librettist wants to put his emphasis,
– genitive and where and how it appears,
– particulates (doch, halt, noch etc.) and the emotions and attitudes they carry,
– swearwords and how strong and grave they are,

- fixed phrases, so called collocations (connections of words), that help to memorize parts of the text
– Viennese phrases and their charms, and what they reveal or hide.

What you can do: Bring your questions and your arias to discuss their language.

Who consults: Bernd Hendricks, German Language Consultant and author of the book

Ach ich fühl’s – German for
Opera Singers in Three Acts: Studying, Speaking, Singing.

Time: Monday, February 6, 7 pm – 9 pm

Place: Prachtwerk Cafe, conference room, Ganghoferstr. 2

Price: The workshop is free. A small donation to cover the rent of the room would be appreciated.

Review: I would like to ask the participants to rate and review the workshop in social media, and for the blog “Ach ich fühl’s – German for Opera Singers”. The workshop will be documented with photos, in a video or/and with an article for blogs and other publications.





Strauss lived in this building on Heerstraße 2 between 1913 and 1917. The plaque on the wall mentions that he composed here also Die Frau ohne Schatten. He left Berlin in Mai 1918 to work for the Hofoper in Vienna.


Published by


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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