Sympathy for the devil? Bertram (Robert le diable) in Copenhagen, 1833

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This chapter deals with the adaptation of Robert le diable for the Danish stage in 1833, for which the translator, Thomas Overskou, was asked to transform Bertram – Robert’s diabolic father – into ‘a decent human being’. Following a standard practice at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen at the time, Overskou sought to achieve this moral remodelling not least in passages of spoken dialogue or monologue that would often replace the original recitatives. This, however, not only effected a change in verbal meaning, but also in vocal register at significant moments. This chapter discusses the implications of such a cultural practice of adaptation and relates it to similar transformations and perceptions (notably Søren Kierkegaard’s) of the Don Giovanni character in the contemporary Danish version.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGrand Opera Outside Paris : Opera on the Move in Nineteenth-Century Europe
EditorsJens Hesselager
Number of pages17
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Publication date2018
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-20201-6
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-315-46645-3
Publication statusPublished - 2018
SeriesAshgate Interdisciplinary Studies in Opera

ID: 187314132