Publication details [#10515]

Apter, Ronny and Mark Herman. 2005. A semiotic clash in Maria Stuarda: music and libretto versus the protestant version of British History. In Gorlée, Dinda Liesbeth, ed. Song and significance: virtues and vices of vocal translation (Approaches to Translation Studies 25). Amsterdam: Rodopi. pp. 163–184.


Guiseppe Bardari’s Italian libretto for Gaetano Donizetti’s opera Maria Stuarda, based on Friedrich von Schiller’s German play Maria Stuart, expands Schiller’s fictional invention of a competition between Elizabeth Tudor and Mary Stuart for the love of the Earl of Leicester , and makes an explicit love triangle the core of the plot. Translators of the opera into English face a semiotic clash arising from two choices made by the opera’s creators. Bardari’s libretto largely takes the catholic view that Mary was a religious heroine and Elizabeth the murderer. The Protestant view is that Elizabeth was a great ruler and Mary a potential usurper. Also, despite the opera’s Elizabethan setting, Donizetti’s music continually signifies 19th century Italy. This article discusses the problems for a performable English translation stemming from the resultant semiotic clash, only some of which were solvable by the authors in their translation for Ricordi in Milan.
Source : Based on abstract in book