Workshop April 10: The Linguistics of Fidelio


If you are looking for Beethoven, you can find him in two places: in the Vienna central cemetery, under bouquets of flowers, as I have seen last week, or in Prachtwerk Cafe at my Fidelio workshop under a sometimes flowery, sometimes heroic language.
When? April 10, 7 pm – 9pm.
Where exactly? Prachtwerk Cafe, conference room, Ganghoferstraße 2, Berlin-Neukölln.
Topic: O namenlose Freude – The Linguistics of Fidelio
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 the
– language of fear and and worries, and the vocabulary of the dungeons,
– language of love and hope, and what is hidden in the subjunctive and the conditional sentence,
– language of heroism and freedom, and what emotions the imperative carries
– language of tyranny, and the power of the imperative.We will look at words and phrases, and their meanings, of arias, duets and trios by Leonore, Marzelline, Rocco, and Florestan.
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.
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 this blog. The workshop will be documented with photos, in a video or/and with an article for blogs and other publications.



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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