May 13, 2013

By Scott Walker

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Opera singers are accustomed to learning a variety of languages as they add new roles to their repertoires. But a cast of singers in Britain is going to have to learn a language they will likely never use again.

The Welsh National Opera is preparing to present a new work called Wagner Dream. In it, a dying Richard Wagner muses on his unfinished Buddhist opera.

The producers decided to make it as authentic as possible. So they are having part of the libretto translated in Pali. It’s an Indian language that is no longer spoken, but many of the original Buddhist scriptures were written in Pali, so it is widely studied.

Wagner Dream was composed by Jonathan Harvey, who died last year. It will be presented in German and Pali in Cardiff next month.

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