Die Frist ist um—Navigate the Language of 10 German Operas is the latest book by Bernd Hendricks.
Do not fear the journey. Despite rumors to the contrary, there will be no maelstrom. No storm will force you to return. Once you have hoisted the sails, the German language will appear as an ocean, calm and ready to be conquered. At first, linguistic obstacles, impediments to your comprehension, will jut out like rocks—slight changes in the spelling of articles and pronouns, umlauts that did not appear in those verbs a few lines earlier, a word order that makes no sense. Trust yourself. With resilience, courage, and hard work—three of a singer’s virtues—and with the help of this book you will navigate the language of German opera and arrive safely.
Die Frist ist um—Navigate the Language of 10 German Operas is a compass, written for you—singers, vocal students, teachers, and everyone who loves music and language. On 379 pages you will encounter …
– the most relevant grammar rules presented in concise and comprehensible explanations,
– a simplified method to access the meaning of a text without having to consult a translation,
– a linguistic review of the 10 most popular operas of the German repertoire. After providing intriguing background on the composers and librettists and their times, the book introduces the operas’ style, vocabulary and phrases, often uncovering the wit and depth of colloquial and local language. Highlight of each chapter are the linguistic interpretations of the most important—altogether 36—arias and duets.
As soprano Maria King notes in her foreword, the “readers come away with more than just a few sentences or the text of an aria explained.” And: “You’ll have more than a fish, you’ll know how to fish—by which I mean, fishing themeanings and nuances from this and your other German-language repertoire, plumbing the depth and beauty of the texts to create a fuller, richer performance.”
The book’s author, Berlin-based language teacher and writer Bernd Hendricks has been teaching German to singers for the last two decades. His workshops in Berlin, Vienna, and London are based on his widely read first book Ach ich fühl’s—German for Opera Singers in Three Acts: Studying, Speaking, Singing.
Die Frist ist um–Navigate the Language of 10 German Operas: 379 pages, $ 28.80