Chapter published in:Opera in Translation: Unity and diversity
Edited by Adriana Şerban and Kelly Kar Yue Chan
[Benjamins Translation Library 153] 2020
► pp. 117–131
Aesthetics of translation
From Western European drama into Japanese operatic forms
This chapter discusses the question of how Western European drama such as plays written by William Shakespeare and Samuel Beckett can be translated into the Japanese operatic forms of Kabuki and Noh theater, which are traditional, composite arts of music, dance and drama, corresponding to Western opera and ballet. The study reveals that the translated plays enable 21st-century Japanese audiences to depart from the established assumptions about the Western source texts, and that translations are able to capture the essence of the plays written by Shakespeare or Beckett in a way which is familiar to those audiences. At the same time, by transposing Western drama into the world of Japanese opera, the traditional Japanese theater also becomes more accessible to contemporary Western audiences through a synthesis of music, dance and drama, beyond the barrier of language.
Keywords: William Shakespeare, Samuel Beckett, Kabuki, Noh, theater, opera, intersemiotic translation, performance, nonverbal elements
Published online: 29 October 2020
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