Versions of opera / oratorio in different languages

Sometimes an opera or oratorio exists in versions for different languages. An example is Handel’s “Belshazzar, HWV 61” which was originally written in English, but is also often performed in Handel’s native German.

I suppose it is a wrong approach to link a German-language recording of “Belshazzar” with an English-language work entry. What is the right approach in this case? Would it be right to “mirror” already existing English-language version of “Belshazzar” (, creating a German-language version of each oratorio number, as well as of each act and of the whole work? What is a right relation type between English and German versions of the same oratorio number?

Yes. You can link the works with the “version of” relationship and the “translated” attribute. Similarly, there is a “translator” relationship for between artists and works. Of course you should also add the original librettist as librettist to the new translated work.

Creating all those works is a lot of work though. This userscript might come in handy, though I haven’t tried it myself yet.

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Would it be appropriate to add the translated version to the HWV (catalogue of Handel’s works), or is it enough that the translation points to the main English version which is already included in HWV?

That’s a good question, but I’m not sure about the answer. On the one hand, Händel didn’t exactly compose the translated version, and the published catalogue probably doesn’t track translations and arrangements made by others either. On the other hand I would probably have included the catalogue number in the work title without thinking about it if I was adding the work. Maybe others can chime in on this issue?

I fully agree about adding the catalogue number to the work title, this I have already done. The question is if the translated work should also contain a hyperlink to a catalogue (relation “part of collection”).

One more minor question. The oratorio includes orchestral numbers without any lyrics (overture etc). It would be right to NOT create a translation for such parts and include the same work in both English (main) and German (translation) parent work, right?

I would not add this to the series, unless it has a separate number (which sometimes happens, but probably not here).

That would sound sensible to me :slight_smile:

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