Archive for Russian Diction

Episode 59

Posted in Podcasts, Russian Diction by thedictionpolice on May 6th, 2012

Russian Diction is back this week--Katja Sapega Klein discusses the texts to Olga's Aria from Евгений Онегин (Yevgeniy Onegin) and Tchaikovsky's "Нам звёзды кроткие сияли", the last song of his Opus 60. Our focus this time is on what happens when 2 vowels come together in Russian, the devoicing (or not!) of consonants and double soft consonant/vowel combinations.

Olga's aria, "Ах, Таня, Таня! Всегда мечтаешь ты... Я не способна к грусти томной" can be found through an online libretto for Евгений Онегин, just scroll down to "page 16". If you want to check your homework after you've translated this aria :-) try Google translate--it does a pretty good job at quick translations from/to almost any language we would ever need and will even allow for alternate translations if you highlight a specific word. "Нам звёзды кроткие сияли" ("Nam zvjozdy krotkije sijali") is a text by Aleksey Pleshcheyev, a radical 19th Century Russian poet who was imprisoned and exiled.

Be sure to look on the 7 Steps to Learn  Music/Language Learning Tips page for this week's tips on studying foreign languages. The podcasts that I mention at the beginning of this episode are also listed on the Resources page.

Please feel free to contact me with questions, comments or suggestions here, through the Facebook page, on Twitter @dictionpolice or directly at ellen@ellenrissinger.com

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Episode 36

Posted in Podcasts, Russian Diction by thedictionpolice on May 26th, 2011

Russian Diction is our topic this week--baritone Dmitri Vargin helps us work through the text to Onegin's aria "Вы мне писали... Когда бы жизнь домашним кругом". Our focus this time is on unstressed Os in every position.

Finally there's a working link to this libretto that doesn't need to be downloaded! So here is the libretto for Евгений Онегин, scroll down to "page" 37 to find the recitative and aria for today. If you have the book Russian Songs and Arias, be aware of two typos in their transcription of this aria:

In the first line, кругом has the wrong stressed syllable so the O is unstressed

On the second page of it, the seventh line, годам also has the wrong stressed syllable so in this case the O is stressed.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or suggestions here, at the Facebook page or directly at ellen@ellenrissinger.com

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Episode 25

Posted in Podcasts, Russian Diction by thedictionpolice on December 3rd, 2010

This week we are back to Russian Diction, with Siberian-born tenor Andrej Dunaev, discussing the texts to two Rachmaninoff songs, Opus 14 No 1 "Я жду тебя" (I Wait for You) and No 14 "Весенние воды" (Spring Waters). We concentrate on the й (I-kratkoe), the devoicing of consonants, the hard sign ъ (not to be confused with the soft sign ь or the vowel ы!), another way to write the JE vowel - ѣ and a little on the soft consonant щ.

Since I'm a big fan of trying to read the Cyrillic, here are the links to the texts for "Я жду тебя" and "Весенние воды" in Cyrillic. If you prefer, there are links directly under the texts to get the Roman alphabet transliterations.

The two podcasts mentioned on this episode are A Taste of Russian and The Russian Sound System, both of which are available free on iTunes. I also found a nice website called Russian Language Lessons, which is free and many of the lessons have audio clips to help you learn to pronounce, it seems comparable to the Talk Now! CD-rom series of language lessons with more grammar rules.

Please feel free to contact me with questions or comments here, at the Facebook page or directly at ellen@ellenrissinger.com

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Episode 18

Posted in Podcasts, Russian Diction by thedictionpolice on September 17th, 2010

Today we're talking with Siberian-born tenor Andrej Dunaev about the text to Lensky's Aria from Yevgény Onégin. We concentrate on the vowels e [jɛ] and ё [jo], the hard consonant ж [ʒ] and the soft sign ь.

For the text to Lensky's aria, you can download the libretto for the opera through the Wikipedia page here. Just scroll down to "External links" at the bottom and click on "Russian libretto in zip file for Word". I mention on the podcast that the Tenor Anthology has a lot of extra soft signs--I've discovered an older piano/vocal score online here (scroll down to page 58) that uses the old spellings including the hard sign (ъ) which we don't see much anymore. This letter is very similar to the soft sign (ь), and it seems that in the Anthology they use the same symbol for both, which is a little confusing; be sure to check the text with the libretto or the full score here (scroll down to page 115) if you are using this score to learn the aria.

While there's never any singing on the actual podcast, I found a YouTube of Andrej singing Lensky's aria in Paris here. I really don't like the staging, but it's fine if you can ignore the woman on stage distracting the audience from the aria!

Feel free to contact me here, on the Facebook page or directly at ellen@ellenrissinger.com with any questions or comments.

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Episode 10

Posted in Podcasts, Russian Diction by thedictionpolice on June 4th, 2010

This week we talk about Russian Diction with Maria Fontosh. First we discuss the text to Tatjana's Aria from Yevgeny (Eugene) Onegin and then we go through the alphabet to try to take some of the fear out of reading Cyrillic! We focus on a, я and unstressed o.

The only online Russian libretto I found for Onegin is a zip file you can download at the end of the Wikipedia Article. This is the text I refer to when I mention "paragraphs" in the episode.

The Wikipedia page for the Russian alphabet with a very general outline of spoken diction rules is here, and I also found another website where you can click to hear the letters pronounced here.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me here, on the Facebook page, or directly at ellen@ellenrissinger.com

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