Writing (& Producing) Singing Translations, from Russian to English

Leonard J. Lehrman


The author traces the origins of his interest in translating Russian literature into English, so that musical settings of
the original words can be sung in both languages, beginning in 1966 with Kolmanovsky’s 1961 setting of an antiwar
poem by Yevtushenko, moving through Lehrman’s own 1970 setting of a poem from 1922 by Mayakovsky,
and including operas by Musorgsky, Glinka and Dargomyzhsky in their first performances in English, along with
Lehrman’s own operas inspired by Aizman, Sholokhov and Chekhov, and his original settings of poems by Blok, Fet,
Krylov, Derzhavin, Khlebnikov, Pushkin, and Galina Leybovich.

Keywords: English translation, Russian opera, Musorgsky, Glinka, Dargomyzhsky, Chekhov, Sholokhov,
Yevtushenko, Mayakovsky, Kolmanovsky, Caryl Emerson, Joel Mandelbaum, Rusalka, William Austin, George
Gibian, Laurel E. Fay, Elie Siegmeister, Abel Meeropol, Julius & Ethel Rosenberg, John Reed

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17674/1997-0854.2016.1.042-050


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