Rare Gem: Wagner Sung in an Irish Brogue

Saturday, March 15, 2014 - 09:00 PM

Richard Wagner may seem to embody all that is Germanic in opera but his music has turned up in several different languages, including French, Italian and English. It has also been sung with an Irish brogue, courtesy of John McCormack, the popular Irish tenor of the early 20th century.

On an October 25, 1973 episode of The Vocal Scene called "Wagner in the Wrong Language," WQXR's George Jellinek treated listeners to this unusual sound. Listen above to "Walter's Prize Song," recorded in 1916. It starts with a 10-second introduction by the host.


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Comments [3]

@Constantine: "An Irish brogue? There's another kind?"

I suppose there could be a Scots/Scottish brogue. Maybe even Welsh?


Mar. 17 2014 09:15 PM
Constantine from New York

An Irish brogue? There's another kind? Seriously, though, many Irish consider the word "brogue" to be derogatory.

Mar. 17 2014 02:48 PM
David from Flushing

One might also muse on Handel's oratorios. We are used to the English "cathedral sound" of boy choirs and their proper modern Queen's English. In Handel's day, the English were still largely rhotic and spoke their final "R"s with a good growl. This may still be heard in large areas of America, but on the east coast, it tends to be limited to the Philadelphia area. Some even claim that this area reflects pronunciations of around 1700 better than the mother country. I can imagine choir directors cringing at "foreverrr" instead of their preferred "foreveah."

Mar. 16 2014 02:20 PM

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