My Translation of Le Fantôme de l'Opéra

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My Translation of Le Fantôme de l'Opéra

Post  FdelOpera on Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:31 am

As some of you know, back in the late 90s, I started translating Le Fantôme de l’Opéra into English, since the translations available at the time (de Mattos, Bair, and Wolf) were all pretty bad. The 1911 de Mattos translation was the worst, since it cut about 80 pages of content from the original novel, and while the other versions were more complete, they still had errors.

We now have three more English translations of Phantom (Lofficier, Ribière, and Coward), however they all have their share of mistranslations and omissions (yes, even Mireille Ribière’s annotated translation -- you can read about two of her errors here and here).

Therefore, after a long hiatus, I have decided to resume my Phantom translation project.

This week, I translated the Foreword to Leroux's novel, which I am posting here. I realized this morning that it is especially appropriate that I am posting my translation today, since it is the 104th anniversary of the publication of Leroux's first installment of Le Fantôme de l’Opéra in the Gaulois newspaper:

http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k534464n/f3.image

I won’t be translating the novel linearly, but will be translating chapters that are of particular interest first.

If you’ve made it this far in this post Wink, you get to request which chapter(s) you would like me to translate! Whichever chapter gets the most requests, I will work on that next (if I don't get any requests, I'll probably start translating "Apollo's Lyre").

Please post or PM any questions or comments that you have about this translation.

I have tried to retain the flow of Leroux's language as much as I can, run-on sentences and all. Wink

As I like to say, no piece of writing is ever complete. I will likely be tweaking this translation in perpetuity. I triple checked the text for errors, but if you find any, please let me know, and I will correct them. Thank you! Very Happy 


The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

Translated by Caitlin Freeman, © 2013 (please do not use without permission and proper credit)


TO MY OLD BROTHER JO

Who, without being in any way a Phantom, is nonetheless, like Erik, an Angel of Music.

Affectionately,

Gaston Leroux


FOREWORD

IN WHICH THE AUTHOR OF THIS SINGULAR WORK RELATES TO THE READER HOW HE CAME TO ACQUIRE THE CERTAINTY THAT THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA REALLY EXISTED.

The Phantom of the Opera did exist. He was not, as was long believed, an invention of artists, a superstition of managers, the insipid creation of the excited brains of the young ladies of the corps de ballet, of their mothers, of the box keepers, of the cloakroom workers, and of the concierge.

Yes, he existed, in flesh and blood, although he gave himself every appearance of a real phantom, that is to say of a shade.

I was struck from the outset when I began to peruse the archives of the National Academy of Music by the surprising coincidence between the phenomena attributed to the Phantom and the most mysterious and most fantastic of tragedies, and I was soon led to the idea that the former could perhaps rationally explain the latter. The events hardly date back thirty years, and even today it would not be at all difficult to find, in the same dance foyer, old men of high respectability, upon whose word no doubt could be placed, who remember as if it happened yesterday the mysterious and tragic circumstances which accompanied the abduction of Christine Daaé, the disappearance of the Vicomte de Chagny, and the death of his elder brother, the Comte Philippe, whose body was found on the bank of the lake which stretches itself through the depths of the Opera, on the Rue Scribe side. But none of these witnesses had believed until this day that there was any reason to connect this dreadful affair with the rather legendary character of the Phantom of the Opera.

The truth was slow to enter my mind, troubled by an investigation which, at every moment, came across events that at first sight could be considered otherworldly, and more than once, I came very close to abandoning a task in which I was exhausting myself, pursuing — without ever seizing — an elusive figure. Finally, I found the proof that my intuition had not misled me, and I was rewarded for all my efforts the day on which I acquired the certainty that the Phantom of the Opera had been more than a shade.

On that day, I had spent long hours in the company of “Memoirs of a Manager,” the lightweight work of the overly skeptical Moncharmin, who, during his time at the Opera, understood nothing of the mysterious behavior of the Phantom, and who ridiculed it as much as he could even as he became the first victim of the curious financial operation that took place inside the “magic envelope.”

Feeling despondent, I had just left the library when I encountered the charming administrator of our National Academy, who was chatting on a landing with a lively and stylish little old man, to whom he introduced me cheerfully. The administrator was aware of my investigation, and knew with what impatience I had in vain tried to discover the hideaway of the examining magistrate of the famous Chagny case, M. Faure. No one knew what had become of him, dead or alive; and now, back from Canada, where he had just spent fifteen years, the first thing he had done in Paris had been to come and get a complimentary seat from the Opera's secretarial office. This little old man was M. Faure himself.

We spent a good part of the evening together and he recounted to me the whole Chagny case such as he had understood it long ago. He had been forced to conclude, for lack of evidence, in favor of the madness of the Vicomte and the accidental death of his elder brother, but he remained convinced that a terrible tragedy had taken place between the two brothers with regard to Christine Daaé. He could not tell me what had become of Christine or the Vicomte. Naturally, when I spoke to him about the Phantom, he only laughed. He, too, had been informed about the singular manifestations which seemed at the time to substantiate the existence of an extraordinary being who had taken up residence in one of the most mysterious corners of the Opera, and he knew the story of “the envelope,” but he had not seen anything in any of this that could have held the attention of a magistrate responsible for investigating the Chagny case, and he had barely spared a few moments to listen to the testimony of a witness who had voluntarily come forward to claim that he had had the opportunity to meet with the Phantom. This individual — the witness — was none other than the man whom the Parisian high society called “the Persian” and who was well known to all of the Opera's subscribers. The magistrate took him for a lunatic.

You can imagine how tremendously interested I was by this story of the Persian. I wanted to find, if there was still time, this invaluable and eccentric witness. My good fortune regaining the upper hand, I managed to find him in his little flat on the Rue de Rivoli, which he had not left since that time and where he died five months after my visit.

At first, I was wary; but when the Persian had recounted to me, with the candor of a child, all that he personally knew about the Phantom and had given me full ownership of the proofs of his existence, particularly the strange correspondence of Christine Daaé, a correspondence which cast such dazzling light upon her terrifying fate, it was not possible for me to doubt any longer! No! No! The Phantom was not a myth!

I am well aware that I have been told that this entire correspondence might not be authentic, and that it could have been forged in entirety by a man whose imagination had certainly been fed on the most alluring tales, but fortunately it was possible for me to find some of Christine’s handwriting outside of the famous packet of letters, and consequently to engage in a comparative study which removed all my uncertainties.

I also gathered information on the Persian and as a result I found him to be an honest man, incapable of inventing a machination which would have misled justice.

Moreover, this is the opinion of the most prominent figures who were involved directly or indirectly in the Chagny case, who were friends of the family, and to whom I showed all my documents, and before whom I set forth all my deductions. I have received from them the most gracious encouragements, and in this regard, I will take the liberty of reproducing a few lines which were sent to me by General D...

Monsieur,

I cannot urge you too strongly to make public the results of your investigation. I remember perfectly that a few weeks before the disappearance of the great singer Christine Daaé and the tragedy which put the entire Faubourg Saint-Germain into mourning, there was much talk in the dance foyer of the
Phantom, and I do believe that it only ceased to be discussed following that case which occupied everyone’s mind; but if it is possible, as I think it is after hearing you, to explain the tragedy through the Phantom, I beg you, monsieur, speak to us again of the Phantom. However mysterious he may at first appear, he will be always be more explainable than that somber story in which malicious people would see two brothers fighting each other to the death who adored each other all their lives...

I remain, etc.


Finally, my dossier in hand, I traversed the Phantom’s vast domain, the wondrous monument which he had made his empire; and all that my eyes saw, all that my mind uncovered admirably corroborated the Persian’s documents, when a marvelous discovery came to definitively crown my labors.

One may recall that recently, while digging in the basement of the Opera to bury the phonographed voices of the artists, the workers’ pickaxes laid bare a corpse; now I at once had the proof that this corpse was that of the Phantom of the Opera! I made the administrator himself examine this proof firsthand, and now it is of no importance to me that the newspapers say that the body found there was a victim of the Commune.

The wretches who were massacred during the Commune in the cellars of the Opera are not buried on this side: I will tell where their skeletons can be found, far away from the immense crypt where, during the siege, all sorts of provisions were stored. I was set upon this trail precisely while searching for the remains of the Phantom of the Opera, which I would not have found without this extraordinary coincidence of the burial of those living voices!

But we shall speak again of this corpse and what ought to be done with it; now, I must conclude this very necessary foreword by thanking the all too modest minor players, who — such as M. Mifroid, the police commissioner (called in long ago to make the first reports at the time of Christine Daaé’s disappearance), M. Rémy, the former secretary, M. Mercier, the former administrator, M. Gabriel, the former chorus master, and most especially Mme la Baronne de Castelot-Barbezac, who was once “little Meg” (and who is not ashamed of it), the most charming star of our admirable corps de ballet, the eldest daughter of the honorable Mme Giry, now deceased, the former keeper of the Phantom’s box — were of the most helpful assistance to me, and thanks to them, the reader and I will be able to relive in the most minute details those hours of pure love and terror. *

* I would be ungrateful if, on the threshold of this terrifying and true story, I did not equally thank the present management of the Opera, which lent itself so kindly to all my investigations, and in particular M. Messager; also, the very sympathetic administrator, M. Gabion, and the very kind architect assigned to the careful preservation of the monument, who did not hesitate to lend me the works of Charles Garnier, although he was almost certain that I would not return them to him. Lastly, I must publicly recognize the generosity of my friend and former collaborator, M. J.-L. Croze, who allowed me to draw from his excellent theatrical library, and to borrow rare editions which he valued greatly.

— G.L.


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Re: My Translation of Le Fantôme de l'Opéra

Post  NightRachel on Wed Sep 25, 2013 1:06 am

Wow -- this is great! I wish you good luck with this project, FdelOpera. Never hurts to have another good translation of the original Leroux. Smile 
As for my request for a chapter to translate...how about Chapter 10: The Masked Ball.

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Re: My Translation of Le Fantôme de l'Opéra

Post  LadyCDaae on Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:33 am

I'll second that request. The part where Raoul first hears Erik's voice is one of my favorite passages in the entire book; I'd like to see what you make of it.

~LCD

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Re: My Translation of Le Fantôme de l'Opéra

Post  FdelOpera on Wed Sep 25, 2013 11:23 pm

I have gotten a large number of requests to do "Apollo's Lyre," but I agree that the ending of "At the Masked Ball" is one of the most wonderful parts of the novel, so maybe I will sneak that in while I'm translating "Apollo's Lyre," and then translate the beginning of the chapter afterwards. "Qui est cet Erik?" indeed! Wink

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Re: My Translation of Le Fantôme de l'Opéra

Post  FdelOpera on Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:25 am

I've started translating the “Apollo’s Lyre” chapter of Phantom of the Opera, which is going smoothly. Here is a sneak peek of two little sections that I particularly like:

"Oh, I truly hate him!" cried Raoul, "And you, Christine, tell me … I need you to tell me this so that I can listen more calmly to the rest of this extraordinary love story … and you, do you hate him?"

"No!" said Christine simply.

"Well then, why waste your words? You love him for certain! Your fear, your terrors, all of that is still love and of the most delicious kind! That which one does not admit even to oneself,” Raoul explained bitterly. “That which gives you a thrill when you contemplate it… Think of it, a man who lives in a palace beneath the earth!”

………

“You are afraid … but do you love me? If Erik were handsome, would you love me, Christine?”

“You wretch! Why tempt fate? Why ask me about things that I hide deep down in my conscience, as we hide our sins?”

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Re: My Translation of Le Fantôme de l'Opéra

Post  FdelOpera on Thu Sep 26, 2013 11:45 pm

I had more time today to work on my translation of “Apollo’s Lyre.” I am translating it out of sequence, starting with my favorite passages first. Today I translated a wonderful passage that is unfortunately cut from most English language editions. If your copy of Phantom does not list who translated it, it is the 1911 (butchered) translation by Alexander Teixeira de Mattos. This version cut dozens of pages worth of content from the original novel, including the text highlighted in bold below. In de Mattos’ version, this text is condensed into the woefully inadequate phrase, “He sang me to sleep”.

As always, if you see any errors (I'm looking at you, NightRachel Wink), please let me know!


“That is what is terrible,” she went on feverishly. “I am horrified by him and I do not detest him. How can I hate him, Raoul? Imagine Erik at my feet, in the house on the lake, beneath the earth. He blames himself, he curses himself, he implores my forgiveness!

"He confesses his deceit. He loves me! He lays at my feet an immense and tragic love! He abducted me for love! He imprisoned me with him underground for love… But he respects me, he grovels, he moans, he weeps! And when I arose, Raoul, when I told him that I could only despise him if he did not straightaway give me back that freedom which he had taken from me, incredibly, he offered it to me … I had only to leave… He was ready to show me the mysterious way out … only … only he too arose, and I was obliged to remember that even if he is neither phantom, nor angel, nor genie, he is still the Voice, because he sang!

"And I listened … and I stayed!

That evening we did not exchange another word... He had taken up a harp and he began to sing for me Desdemona’s love song — he, the man’s voice, the angel’s voice. The memory I had of singing it myself made me feel ashamed. My friend, there is a virtue in music which can make everything in the outside world cease to exist except for those sounds which touch your heart. My extraordinary ordeal was forgotten. By itself, the Voice returned to life and I followed it, intoxicated, on its harmonious journey. I became one of Orpheus’ flock! The Voice led me through sorrow and joy, through martyrdom, despair, jubilation, through death and into triumphant nuptials... I listened... The Voice continued singing... It sang to me unknown pieces ... and it shared a new music which awoke in me a strange feeling of tenderness, languor, and calm ... a music which, after stirring my soul, soothed it little by little, and led it to the threshold of dreams. I fell asleep.


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Re: My Translation of Le Fantôme de l'Opéra

Post  FdelOpera on Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:00 am

Here is my translation of Christine's passage in "Apollo's Lyre" where she describes the changes in her voice that she experienced under Erik's tutelage, compared with the same passage in the A.T. de Mattos 1911 translation. I have bolded the text that de Mattos cut from his version.


"And then, my friend, it seemed as if the Voice knew exactly where my father had left me in my studies when he died, as well as the simple method he had used; and thus, since I remembered, or rather my voice remembered, all of my past lessons, and I consequently thrived under my present training, I made prodigious progress, such that under other circumstances it would have taken me years to accomplish! Bear in mind that I am rather delicate, my friend, and that at first my voice had little character; my low register was naturally underdeveloped, my high register was rather harsh, and my middle register was muffled. It was against these faults that my father had struggled and momentarily triumphed; the Voice, however, vanquished these flaws once and for all. Little by little, I increased the volume of my notes to a degree that my past frailty would not have allowed me to hope for. I learned to greatly expand the amplitude of my breathing. But above all, the Voice confided in me the secret of developing chest sounds in a soprano voice. Finally, the Voice enveloped all of this in the sacred fire of inspiration; it aroused in me a life that was ardent, all-consuming, and sublime. The Voice had the virtue, when I heard it, of elevating me to its level. It united me in its superb flight. The soul of the Voice lived in my mouth and there it breathed harmony!

"After several weeks, I no longer recognized myself when I sang! I was even frightened by it ... for a moment, I was afraid that there might be some sorcery behind it; but Mamma Valerius reassured me. She knew me to be too honest a girl, she said, to be possessed by the devil.

"My progress remained a secret between the Voice, Mamma Valerius, and myself, by the order of the Voice itself. Strangely enough, outside of my dressing room, I sang with my everyday voice and no one noticed anything. I did all that the Voice demanded. It said to me, 'You must wait ... you shall see! We shall astonish Paris!'"


Alexander Teixeira de Mattos translation:

"The voice seemed to understand mine exactly, to know precisely where my father had left off teaching me. In a few weeks' time, I hardly knew myself when I sang. I was even frightened. I seemed to dread a sort of witchcraft behind it; but Mamma Valerius reassured me. She said that she knew I was much too simple a girl to give the devil a hold on me. ... My progress, by the voice's own order, was kept a secret between the voice, Mamma Valerius and myself. It was a curious thing, but, outside the dressing-room, I sang with my ordinary, every-day voice and nobody noticed anything. I did all that the voice asked. It said, `Wait and see: we shall astonish Paris!'"


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Re: My Translation of Le Fantôme de l'Opéra

Post  FdelOpera on Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:13 am

Here is another passage that was cut from the Teixeira de Mattos translation, describing Christine's triumph in the gala and the change in Christine's voice after she had studied with Erik. This is from "The New Marguerite":

The great critic P. de St-V. established the indelible memory of that extraordinary moment in a column fittingly titled, "The New Marguerite." Like a great artist, which he was, he revealed simply that this beautiful and sweet child had brought to the Opera stage that evening something more than her art, namely, her heart. None of the Opera patrons could fail to recognize that Christine's heart had remained pure like that of a fifteen-year-old, and P. de St-V. stated "that to understand what had happened to Daaé, one could only imagine that she had fallen in love for the first time! I am perhaps being indiscreet," he added, "but love alone is capable of achieving such a miracle, such a striking transformation. We heard Christine Daaé two years ago in her exam at the Conservatory, and she showed us charming promise. From whence came the glory of today? If it did not descend from Heaven on the wings of love, I can only think that it ascended from Hell and that Christine, like the minstrel Ofterdingen, must have made a pact with the Devil! He who has not heard Christine sing the final trio of Faust does not know Faust: the exaltation of her voice and the sacred intoxication of her pure soul cannot be surpassed!”


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Re: My Translation of Le Fantôme de l'Opéra

Post  FdelOpera on Sun Sep 29, 2013 7:01 am

Here is my translation of the first paragraph of Apollo's Lyre. This one was somewhat slow going, since I am not only trying to capture the meaning of Leroux's words as exactly as possible, but I am also trying to retain the poetry of his language.


In this way, they reached the rooftop. She glided over it, light and deft like a swallow. Their gaze traveled across the deserted space between the three domes and the triangular pediment. She breathed deeply, high above Paris where the whole valley could be seen at work. She looked trustingly at Raoul. She called him close to her, and side by side they walked, up high, on streets of zinc and along avenues of lead; they let their twin forms reflect in the immense tanks full of still water where, during the warmer months, the little boys of the ballet, about twenty young lads, dived and learned to swim. The shadow behind them, still unswervingly following their footsteps, had emerged from the darkness, flattening itself against the rooftop, stretching itself with the movements of its black wings over the crossroads of iron alleyways, skirting around the tanks, silently circling the domes. The hapless children never suspected its presence when they at last sat down, trustingly, beneath the mighty protection of Apollo, who with a bronze gesture lifted his prodigious lyre into the heart of a sky alight with fire.

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Re: My Translation of Le Fantôme de l'Opéra

Post  FdelOpera on Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:05 am

Here is my translation of the first few pages of "Apollo's Lyre," starting from the beginning. More to come soon. Enjoy!


In this way, they reached the rooftop. She glided over it, light and deft like a swallow. Their gaze traveled across the deserted space between the three domes and the triangular pediment. She breathed deeply, high above Paris where the whole valley could be seen at work. She looked trustingly at Raoul. She called him close to her, and side by side they walked, up high, on streets of zinc and along avenues of lead; they let their twin forms reflect in the immense tanks full of still water where, during the warmer months, the little boys of the ballet, about twenty young lads, dived and learned to swim. The shadow behind them, still unswervingly following their footsteps, had emerged from the darkness, flattening itself against the rooftop, stretching itself with the movements of its black wings over the crossroads of iron alleyways, skirting around the tanks, silently circling the domes. The hapless children never suspected its presence when they at last sat down, trustingly, beneath the mighty protection of Apollo, who with a bronze gesture lifted his prodigious lyre into the heart of a sky alight with fire.

An evening inflamed with springtime surrounded them. Clouds, which had just received their delicate gown of gold and crimson from the setting sun, passed slowly by, letting it trail above the two young people; and Christine said to Raoul: “Soon, we shall go farther and faster than the clouds, to the end of the world, and then you shall abandon me, Raoul. But if, when the time comes for you to take me, I no longer consent to follow you, well then, Raoul, you must carry me away!”

She said this to him with great force, which seemed directed at herself, while she huddled nervously against him. The young man was deeply affected.

“Are you afraid that you might change your mind, Christine?”

“I don’t know,” she said, while shaking her head in an odd manner. “He is a demon!”

And she shivered. She nestled in his arms with a moan.

“I am afraid now of returning to live with him: in the ground!”

“What compels you to return there, Christine?”

“If I don’t return to his side, great misfortunes may occur!… But I can’t do it anymore!… I can’t do it anymore!… I know that one must have pity on those people who live ‘underground’… But he is just too horrible! And yet even so, the time draws near; I have only one day left! And if I do not come, it is he who will come for me with his voice. He will drag me down with him to his house underground, and he will go down on his knees before me, with his death’s head! And he will tell me that he loves me! And he will weep! Oh, those tears! Raoul! Those tears in the two black holes of that death’s head! I cannot bear to see those tears flow again!”

She twisted her hands fearfully, while Raoul, himself overwhelmed by her contagious despair, pressed her to his heart. “No, no! You shall never again hear him say that he loves you! You shall never again see his tears flow! Let us flee!… Christine, let us flee at once!” And already he wanted to drag her away.

But she stopped him.

“No, no,” she said, shaking her head sorrowfully. “Not now!… That would be too cruel… Let him hear me sing again tomorrow evening, one last time … and then, we shall go away. At midnight, you shall come and fetch me in my dressing room. At midnight exactly. At that time, he will be waiting for me in his dining room on the lake … we shall be free and you will drag me away!… Even if I refuse, you must promise me this, Raoul … because I truly feel that, this time, if I return to him, I shall perhaps never come back again…”

She added: “You cannot understand!…”

She heaved a great sigh, and it seemed to her that, behind her, another sigh had replied.

“Did you hear that?”

Her teeth were chattering.

“No,” Raoul assured her, “I didn’t hear anything…”

“It is too dreadful,” she confessed, “to tremble like this all the time!… And yet, here, we are not in any danger; we are where we belong, where I belong, in the sky, in the open air, in broad daylight. The sun is ablaze, and night birds do not like to look at the sun! I have never seen him in the light of day… That must be horrible!…” she stammered, turning towards Raoul with a wild look in her eyes. “Oh, the first time I saw him!… I thought he was going to die!”

“Why?” asked Raoul, genuinely frightened by the direction that her strange and astounding confession was taking… “Why did you think he was going to die?”

“BECAUSE I HAD SEEN HIM!!!”


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Re: My Translation of Le Fantôme de l'Opéra

Post  FdelOpera on Thu Oct 03, 2013 3:38 am

Here is the next installment of my translation of "Apollo's Lyre." As always, questions, comments, etc. are appreciated! Enjoy!



This time, Raoul and Christine turned around together.

“There is someone here who is in pain!” said Raoul… “Maybe someone is hurt… Did you hear that?”

“Did I? I couldn’t tell you,” admitted Christine. “Even when he is not there, my ears are filled with his sighs… However, if you heard something…”

They got to their feet and looked all around them… They were quite alone on the vast leaden roof. They sat down again. Raoul asked: “How did you first see him?”

“I heard him for three months without seeing him. The first time that I ‘heard’ him, I believed, like you, that this irresistible voice, which suddenly began singing right beside me, was singing from a nearby dressing room. I went out and I searched for it everywhere; but my dressing room is very isolated, Raoul, as you know, and it was impossible for me to find the voice outside of my dressing room, whereas it continued steadfastly within. And not only did it sing, but it spoke to me, it answered my questions like a real man’s voice, with this difference, that it was beautiful like the voice of an angel. How could I explain such an unbelievable phenomenon? I had never stopped thinking about the ‘Angel of Music’ that my poor papa had promised to send me as soon as he was dead. I dare to speak to you of such childish notions, Raoul, because you knew my father, and he was very fond of you. And since when you were young, you believed in the ‘Angel of Music’ as much as I did, I am sure you will not laugh or make fun of me. I had maintained, my friend, the gentle and trusting soul of Little Lotte, and living with Mamma Valerius had done nothing to change that. I carried that little pure white soul in my naive hands and, naively, I held it out, I offered it to the man’s voice, believing that I was offering it to the Angel. My adoptive mother, from whom I hid nothing of this inexplicable phenomenon, was certainly in part to blame. She was the first to say to me, ‘It must be the Angel; in any case, you can always ask him.’ That is what I did and the man’s voice replied that indeed it was the voice of the Angel that I was waiting for, that my father had promised me as he lay dying. From that time onwards, a great intimacy developed between the voice and me, and I trusted it absolutely. It told me that it had come down to earth to give me a taste of the supreme joys of eternal art, and it asked my permission to give me music lessons every day. I agreed to this with a fervent enthusiasm, and I never missed any of the appointments that it gave me in my dressing room, early in the morning when that corner of the Opera was quite deserted. How can I describe those lessons to you! Even you, who have heard the voice, can have no idea.”

“Obviously not! How could I?” agreed the young man. “How were you accompanied?”

“By a music that I did not recognize, which came from behind the wall and was perfectly tuned. And then it seemed, my friend, as if the Voice knew exactly where my father had left me in my studies when he died, as well as the simple method he had used; and thus, since I remembered, or rather my voice remembered, all of my past lessons, and I consequently thrived under my present training, I made prodigious progress, such that under other circumstances it would have taken me years to accomplish! Bear in mind that I am rather delicate, my friend, and that at first my voice had little character; my low register was naturally underdeveloped, my high register was rather harsh, and my middle register was muffled. It was against these faults that my father had struggled and momentarily triumphed; the Voice, however, vanquished these flaws once and for all. Little by little, I increased the volume of my notes to a degree that my past frailty would not have allowed me to hope for. I learned to greatly expand the amplitude of my breathing. But above all, the Voice confided in me the secret of developing chest sounds in a soprano voice. Finally, the Voice enveloped all of this in the sacred fire of inspiration; it aroused in me a life that was ardent, all-consuming, and sublime. The Voice had the virtue, when I heard it, of elevating me to its level. It united me in its superb flight. The soul of the Voice lived in my mouth and there it breathed its harmony!

"After several weeks, I no longer recognized myself when I sang!… I was even frightened by it … for a moment, I was afraid that there might be some sorcery behind it; but Mamma Valerius reassured me. She knew me to be too honest a girl, she said, to be possessed by the devil.

"My progress remained a secret between the Voice, Mamma Valerius, and myself, by the order of the Voice itself. Strangely enough, outside of my dressing room, I sang with my everyday voice and no one noticed anything. I did all that the Voice demanded. It said to me, ‘You must wait … you shall see! We shall astonish Paris!’ And I waited. I lived in a kind of ecstatic dream where the Voice was in command. Meanwhile, Raoul, I saw you one evening in the audience. My joy was so great that I never even thought of hiding it when I returned to my dressing room. Unfortunately for us, the Voice was already there and it realized from my expression that something new had happened. It asked me ‘what was the matter,’ and I saw no harm in telling it our charming story, nor in concealing the place that you held in my heart. Then the Voice fell silent: I called out to it, but it did not reply; I pleaded with it, but in vain. I had a frenzied, terrified thought that it had gone away forever! Would to God that it had, my friend!… I went home that evening in a state of despair. I threw my arms around Mamma Valerius’ neck and told her: ‘Do you know what has happened? The Voice is gone! Maybe it will never come back!’ And she was as frightened as I was and asked me to explain. I told her everything. She said to me, ‘Of course! The Voice is jealous!’ This, my friend, made me realize that I loved you…”

Here Christine paused. She leaned her head against Raoul’s chest and for a time they remained silent, in each other’s arms. The feelings that gripped them were so great that they did not see, or rather they did not sense, moving only a few steps away from them, the slinking shadow with two enormous black wings that drew near to them, keeping low to the rooftop, so close, so close to them that it could, in closing around them, have smothered them…

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Re: My Translation of Le Fantôme de l'Opéra

Post  FdelOpera on Sun Oct 06, 2013 4:56 pm

So a number of folks on Tumblr requested that I translate part of "Shall You Turn the Scorpion? Or Shall You Turn the Grasshopper?" (still working on the title) I was more than happy to oblige!

Here is my translation of Erik and Christine's dialogue, as narrated by the Persian.

An important thing to note in reading this chapter is that in French, the verb "sauter" can mean both "to jump/leap" and "to explode" -- sort of like in English where "blow up" can have multiple meanings, among them "to explode."

Erik playfully goes back and forth between these two meanings when he describes the action of the grasshopper, but both of these meanings are always present to some degree, so that, for instance, even when he is describing that the grasshopper "saute joliment bien" (i.e. jumps very well ... or "hops jolly high," as per de Mattos), we still understand that this grasshopper both hops and explodes. This why I have chosen to translate this phrase as, "the grasshopper, it leaps sky high!" I wanted to convey a sense that this was no ordinary grasshopper, and that its action is to go up into the sky, i.e. to explode.

***********************************************

Indeed, he was coming. We heard his footsteps approaching the Louis-Philippe room. He had rejoined Christine. He hadn’t said a word…

Then I raised my voice: “Erik! It’s me! Do you recognize me?”

He answered my cry at once in an extraordinarily placid voice: “So you are not dead in there?... Oh well, try to keep quiet.”

I tried to interject, but he spoke to me so coldly that I remained frozen behind my wall: “Not another word, daroga, or I shall blow everything up!”

And a moment later he added, “The honor must go to mademoiselle!... Mademoiselle has not touched the scorpion” — how calmly he spoke! — “mademoiselle has not touched the grasshopper” — with such frightening composure! — “but it is not too late to do the right thing. Behold, I open them without a key, for I am the lover of trapdoors, and I open and close whatever I want, whenever I want... I open the little ebony caskets: look there, mademoiselle, inside the little ebony caskets ... the pretty little creatures... They are rather good imitations, are they not?... And how harmless they appear... But the clothes don’t make the man!” — All of this in a flat, steady voice... — “If you turn the grasshopper, we shall all leap sky high, mademoiselle... There is enough gunpowder under our feet to blow up a district of Paris ... if you turn the scorpion, all of that gunpowder shall be flooded!... Mademoiselle, on the occasion of our wedding, you are going to give a lovely gift to several hundred Parisians who are at this very moment applauding a rather meager masterpiece by Meyerbeer. You are going to give them the gift of life ... for you, mademoiselle, with your pretty hands” — how weary his voice was — “you are going to turn the scorpion!... And merrily, merrily, we shall be wed!”

There was a silence, and then: “If in two minutes, mademoiselle, you have not turned the scorpion — I have a watch,” Erik’s voice added, “a watch which runs very well... — I myself shall turn the grasshopper... and the grasshopper, it leaps sky high!...”

The silence resumed, more terrifying than all the other terrifying silences. I knew when Erik used that calm, quiet, and weary voice that he was at the end of his rope, capable of the most monstrous crime or the most fanatical devotion, and that if one word displeased him it could unleash a storm. Monsieur de Chagny realized that there was nothing more he could do but pray, and so he fell to his knees in prayer... As for myself, my heart was pounding so frantically that I had to grasp my chest with my hand for fear that it might burst... For we had a horrible intuition of what was going through Christine Daaé’s panic-stricken mind in those final seconds ... we could understand her hesitation to turn the scorpion... Again, what if it were the scorpion that would set everything off!... What if Erik had resolved to bury us all with him!

Finally, Erik’s voice returned, gentle this time, an angelic gentleness...

“The two minutes are up... Adieu, mademoiselle!... Off you go, grasshopper!...”

“Erik,” cried Christine, who must have rushed towards the monster’s hand, “swear to me, you monster, swear to me on your infernal love, that it is the scorpion that I must turn…”

“Yes, to go off to our wedding...”

“Ah, you see! We are going to go off!”

“To our wedding, innocent child!... The scorpion starts the festivities!... But enough of this!... You do not want the scorpion? I’ll take the grasshopper!”

“Erik!...”

“Enough!...”

I had joined my shouts to Christine’s cries. Monsieur de Chagny, still on his knees, continued to pray...

“Erik! I have turned the scorpion!!...”


Last edited by FdelOpera on Thu Oct 31, 2013 6:15 pm; edited 3 times in total

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Re: My Translation of Le Fantôme de l'Opéra

Post  LadyCDaae on Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:02 pm

The scorpion starts the festivities!
Thank you! I've always seen this line translated as "The scorpion opens the ball" and I had no idea what the Hell he was talking about. It wasn't until reading your version that I remembered "opening the ball" was a term for leading the first dance at a party. Now it makes sense.

~LCD

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Re: My Translation of Le Fantôme de l'Opéra

Post  Gold_Band on Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:15 pm

Stepping out of lurker-mode to say thanks so much for doing this. I see a lot of text than I never realized was there. I'm curious to know whether the end scene where Erik tells the Daroga about the kiss has any major deviations. Thanks again.

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Re: My Translation of Le Fantôme de l'Opéra

Post  FdelOpera on Sun Oct 06, 2013 9:53 pm

LadyCDaae wrote:
The scorpion starts the festivities!
Thank you!  I've always seen this line translated as "The scorpion opens the ball" and I had no idea what the Hell he was talking about.  It wasn't until reading your version that I remembered "opening the ball" was a term for leading the first dance at a party.  Now it makes sense.

~LCD
Right, "ouvrir le bal" (literally "to open the ball") is one of those French idiomatic phrases that Alexander Teixeira de Mattos translated word-for-word into English in his 1911 translation, thereby obscuring the meaning behind the French phrase. Other translators (like Bair) have then copied this phrase in their translations, compounding the misunderstanding.

In the days of formal balls, it was the tradition that the guests of honor would have the first dance before the other guests would join them -- they would "open the ball" (i.e. start the party).

Nowadays, this phrase has taken on the more general meaning of "to start something" or "to commence something."

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Re: My Translation of Le Fantôme de l'Opéra

Post  FdelOpera on Sat Oct 12, 2013 7:52 pm

Here is Part III of my translation of "Apollo's Lyre." As always, I appreciate any comments, questions, etc!

---------

“The following day,” Christine went on with a deep sigh, “I returned to my dressing room in a somber mood. The Voice was there. Oh, my friend! It spoke to me with such great sadness. The Voice proclaimed quite plainly that, if I were to give away my heart upon the earth, it had no choice but to return to Heaven. It said this to me with such a note of human sorrow that I should have henceforth grown suspicious and begun to understand that I had strangely become the victim of my deluded senses. But my faith in that apparition of the Voice, which was so intimately connected to the thoughts of my father, was still intact. There was nothing I feared more than never hearing it again. On the other hand, I thought about the feelings that were drawing me to you, and I considered all of the useless danger in it; I didn’t even know if you remembered me. In any event, your position in society forbade me from ever thinking about an honorable union. I swore to the Voice that you were nothing more than a brother to me, that you would never be anything else, and that my heart was empty of all earthly love… And this, my friend, is the reason why I looked the other way when you tried to catch my attention on the stage or in the corridors; the reason why I did not acknowledge you … why I did not see you!… Meanwhile, the hours I spent with the Voice during our lessons went by in a divine delirium. Never before had the beauty of sound so possessed me, and one day the Voice said to me, ‘And now, Christine Daaé, you can give to mankind a taste of the music of Heaven.’

"That evening, which was the evening of the gala, why did La Carlotta not come to the theatre? Why was I called upon to replace her? I do not know; but I sang … I sang with a rapture that I had never known before; I felt as light as if I had been given wings; I believed for a moment that my ardent soul had left my body!"

"Oh, Christine," said Raoul, whose eyes were misty at the memory, "that evening, my heart quivered with every note of your voice. I saw your tears flowing down your pallid cheeks, and I cried with you. How could you sing like that, sing while you were crying?"

“My strength gave way,” said Christine, “I closed my eyes… When I opened them again, you were by my side! But the Voice was there too, Raoul!… I was afraid for you, and once again, I refused to recognize you, and I started laughing when you reminded me that you had picked up my scarf in the sea!…

“Alas! There was no deceiving the Voice!… It had recognized you!… And the Voice was jealous!…  For the next two days, it made a horrible scene… It said to me, ‘You love him! If you didn’t love him, you wouldn’t avoid him! If someone is an old friend, you shake their hand, just like anyone else… If you didn’t love him, you wouldn’t be afraid to be alone in your dressing room with him and me!… If you didn’t love him, you wouldn’t send him away!…’

“‘That’s enough!’ I said to the petulant Voice. ‘Tomorrow, I must go to Perros, to visit my father’s grave; I shall entreat Monsieur Raoul de Chagny to accompany me there.’

“‘As you please,’ it replied, ‘but know that I too shall be in Perros, for I am everywhere you are, Christine, and if you are still worthy of me, if you have not lied to me, at the stroke of midnight, I shall play for you the Resurrection of Lazarus at your father’s grave, with your dead father’s violin.’

“This, my friend, is how I came to write the letter which brought you to Perros. How could I have been so deluded? How, given the Voice’s increasingly personal concerns, did I not suspect some duplicity? Alas! I was no longer in control of myself: I belonged to the Voice!… And the tricks that the Voice had at its disposal were easily able to deceive a child such as me!”

"But for goodness’ sake!" exclaimed Raoul at this point in Christine’s story, where she seemed to tearfully lament the utter and complete innocence of a mind that possessed too little "sense"… "Surely you soon realized the truth!… Why did you not immediately get out of that abominable nightmare?"

"Learned the truth!… Raoul!… Get out of that nightmare!… But I only descended into that nightmare, you wretch, on the day that I knew the truth!… Be quiet! Be quiet! I’ve told you nothing yet … and now that we are going to leave heaven and come down to earth, pity me, Raoul!… Pity me!… One evening, one disastrous evening … you see … it was the evening when so many calamities occurred … the evening when Carlotta believed that she had been transformed on stage into a hideous toad and she began croaking as if she had lived her whole life on the edge of a swamp … the evening when the theatre was suddenly plunged into darkness beneath the thunderous roar of the chandelier as it crashed down to the floor… On that evening, there were people who were killed and injured, and the whole theatre resounded with the most heartrending cries.

"My first thought, Raoul, amidst the chaos of the disaster was simultaneously for you and for the Voice, for at that time you were the two equal halves of my heart. I was immediately reassured as far as you were concerned, for I had seen you in your brother’s box and I knew that you were not in any danger. As for the Voice, it had declared that it would attend the performance, and I was afraid for it; yes, really afraid, as if it had been ‘an ordinary living person that was capable of dying.’ I said to myself: ‘My God! The chandelier might have crushed the Voice.’ At that time, I was on the stage and I was so distraught that I was about to run into the audience to look for the Voice among the dead and injured, when the idea came to me that if nothing unfortunate had happened to it, it must already be in my dressing room, where it would be waiting to put my mind at rest. I rushed back to my room. The Voice was not there. I locked myself in my dressing room, and with tears in my eyes, I begged the Voice, if it were still living, to manifest itself to me. The Voice did not reply, but, all of a sudden, I heard a long, exquisite moan that I knew well. It was the lament of Lazarus, when, at the sound of Jesus’ voice, he begins to open his eyes and see the light of day once more. It was the wailing of my father’s violin. I recognized the Daaé bowing technique, the same, Raoul, that used to transfix us on the roads of Perros, the same that had ‘bewitched’ the night in the cemetery. And then, on that unseen and triumphant instrument, I heeded once more the jubilant cry of Life, and the Voice, making itself heard at last, began singing the commanding and sovereign words: ‘Come! And believe in me! Those who believe in me shall live again! Walk! Those who have believed in me shall not die!’ I cannot tell you the effect that this music had on me. It sang of eternal life at the same moment that, nearby, poor wretches crushed by the deadly chandelier were breathing their last… It seemed to me that the Voice was also commanding me to come, to arise, to walk towards it. It retreated and I followed it. ‘Come! And believe in me!’ I believed in it, and I came … I came, and amazingly, in front of me, my dressing room seemed to grow longer … and longer… Undoubtedly, it must have been a trick of mirrors … for I had the mirror in front of me… And suddenly, I found myself outside of my dressing room, without knowing how.”

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Re: My Translation of Le Fantôme de l'Opéra

Post  FdelOpera on Mon Oct 21, 2013 3:30 am

Here is Part IV of my translation of "Apollo's Lyre." As always, I appreciate any comments, questions, etc!

---------

Here Raoul brusquely interrupted the young woman: “What! Without knowing how? Christine, Christine! You really must try to stop dreaming!”

"Ah! My poor friend, I was not dreaming! I found myself outside of my dressing room without knowing how! You who saw me vanish from my room one evening, my friend, you might be able to explain it, but I cannot!… I can only tell you that I was in front of my mirror, then suddenly I no longer saw it before me; I looked for it behind me … but my mirror was gone, and so was my dressing room… I was in a murky passageway … I was afraid and I cried out!…

"It was dark all around me; in the distance, a faint red glow illuminated the corner of a wall at the intersection of two corridors. I screamed. My voice alone filled the empty space between the walls, for the singing and the violin had stopped. And then all of a sudden, in the dark, a hand touched mine … or rather, something bony and ice cold imprisoned my wrist and would not let me go. I screamed. An arm imprisoned my waist and I was lifted up off the ground… I struggled for a moment in horror; my fingers slid along the damp stones, but they could find nothing to hold onto. And then I stopped writhing; I thought I would die of fear. I was carried towards the faint red glow; as we stepped into the light, I saw that I was in the the arms of a man shrouded in a great black cloak who wore a mask that hid his entire face… I made one last mighty effort: I tensed my limbs and I opened my mouth once more to scream out in fear, but a hand closed over it, a hand that I felt on my lips, on my flesh … a hand which smelled of death! I fainted.

"How long did I remain unconscious? I cannot say. When I opened my eyes again, the man in black and I were still surrounded by darkness. A bull’s-eye lantern on the ground cast its light upon a gushing fountain. The gurgling water which flowed from the wall disappeared almost at once under the floor on which I was lying. My head was resting on the knee of the man in the cloak and the black mask and my silent companion was bathing my temples with a care, an attentiveness, and a sensitivity that seemed even more horrible to endure than the brutality of his earlier abduction. His hands, as gentle as they were, still smelled of death. I tried to push them away, but I didn’t have the strength. I asked in a murmur, ‘Who are you? Where is the Voice?’ His only response was a sigh. Suddenly, a hot breath blew across my face and vaguely, in the gloom next to the dark shape of the man, I could make out a white shape. Then the dark shape lifted me up and placed me on top of the white shape. And straightaway, a joyful whinny sounded in my astonished ears; I murmured: ‘César!’ The animal quivered. My friend, I was reclining in a saddle and I recognized the white horse from The Prophet that I had pampered so often with treats. You see, one evening, a rumor had spread throughout the theatre that this horse had vanished, and that he had been stolen by the Phantom of the Opera. As for myself, I only believed in the Voice; I had never believed in the Phantom, but now I wondered with a shudder if I had perhaps become the Phantom’s prisoner! I called upon the Voice with all my heart to rescue me, for I would never have imagined that the Voice and the Phantom were one and the same! You have heard of the Phantom of the Opera, haven’t you, Raoul?”

“Yes,” replied the young man… “But tell me, Christine, what happened to you when you were on the white horse from The Prophet?”

“I stayed perfectly still and I let myself be carried along… Little by little, a strange torpor replaced the feelings of terror and distress brought on by my hellish ordeal. The dark figure was holding me up and I made no further attempt to escape from him. An odd peacefulness spread throughout my body and I thought I must be under the influence of some benign elixir. I had full control of my senses. My eyes grew accustomed to the darkness, which was illuminated here and there by brief glimmers of light… I concluded that we were in a narrow, circular passageway and I gathered that this passageway went all the way around the Opera, which underground is immense. Once, my friend, only once I descended into these cavernous cellars, but I stopped at the third level, not daring to go further down into the earth. And yet there were two more levels, large enough to house a town, that lay beneath my feet. But the figures that loomed into view scared me away. There are demons down there, dressed all in black, standing in front of their boilers. They wield shovels and pitchforks, stir up their fires, and kindle the flames. They threaten you if you get too close, suddenly opening the red mouths of their furnaces at you!… And now in this nightmarish darkness, while César peacefully carried me on his back, I suddenly caught sight of them, far, far away, and tiny, very tiny, like looking through the reverse end of a spyglass; I glimpsed the black demons in front of the red fires of their furnaces… They appeared… They disappeared… They appeared again, following the strange course of our steps… Finally, they disappeared for good. The figure of the man was still supporting me, and César walked without a lead and sure-footed… I could not tell you, not even vaguely, how long this nighttime journey lasted; I simply had the impression that we were turning … turning … that we were descending along an unyielding spiral into the heart of the very depths of the earth. And yet, perhaps it was my head that was spinning?… Though I don’t think so. No! I was remarkably lucid. César raised his nose for a moment, sniffed the air, and picked up his pace a little. I felt the air grow damp, and then César halted. The night had become brighter. A bluish glow surrounded us. I looked around to see where we had stopped. We were at the edge of a lake whose leaden waters stretched off into the distance, disappearing into the gloom … but the blue light illuminated the shore and I saw a small boat tied to an iron ring on the quay!

“Of course, I knew that all of this was real, and that there was nothing supernatural about the sight of the lake and the boat underground. But consider the extraordinary circumstances in which I reached that shoreline. The souls of the dead could not have felt more foreboding when they reached the River Styx. Charon was certainly no more gloomy or silent than the figure of this man that carried me into the boat. Had the effects of the elixir worn off? Or was the chill of that place enough to fully revive me? Either way, my torpor was evaporating, and by my manner of movement, it was clear that my terror was beginning anew. My grim companion must have noticed this, for with a quick gesture he sent César away. The horse ran off into the darkness of the passageway and I heard his hooves clattering up the echoing steps of a staircase. Then the man jumped into the boat and freed it from its iron ring; he grasped the oars and rowed with powerful and efficient strokes. His eyes beneath the mask never left me; I felt the weight of his motionless pupils bearing down on me. The water around us made no sound. We glided through that bluish glow that I described and then we were once again surrounded by absolute darkness. At last, we reached the shore. The boat struck something solid. And once again, I was carried in the man’s arms. I had regained enough strength to cry out. I screamed. And then suddenly I fell silent, dazzled by the light. Yes, a brilliant, blinding light, in the midst of which he had just set me down. I sprang to my feet. My strength had returned completely. I was standing in the middle of a drawing room that seemed to be decorated, adorned, and furnished with nothing but flowers, flowers both magnificent and absurd because they were tied with silk ribbons in baskets, like the kind that are sold in shops on the boulevards. Flowers that seemed too genteel, like the ones that I was used to finding in my dressing room after each ‘premier.’ And in the center of that perfumed and very Parisian floral setting, the dark figure of the man in the mask stood perfectly still, his arms folded across his chest … and he spoke:

“‘Take courage, Christine,’ he said, ‘you are not in any danger.’

“It was the Voice!”

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Re: My Translation of Le Fantôme de l'Opéra

Post  FdelOpera on Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:11 am

Here is my next installment of Apollo's Lyre. Enjoy!

*****************************

“My fury was equal to my bewilderment. I leapt towards the mask and I tried to tear it off so that I could know the face of the Voice. The figure of the man said to me:

“‘You are not in any danger, so long as you do not touch the mask!’

“And gently imprisoning my wrists, he sat me down.

“And then, he fell to his knees before me, and said nothing more!

“The humility of that gesture gave me back some courage; and the light, which clarified my surroundings, brought me back to the reality of life. As extraordinary as it seemed, my ordeal was now filled with mortal things that I could see and touch. The wall hangings, the furniture, the candlesticks, the vases, and even those flowers in their gilt baskets, which I could almost have told you where they came from and how much they cost, inescapably confined my imagination within the limits of a drawing room as mundane as many others, although they at least had the excuse of not being located in the underside of the Opera. I was no doubt dealing with some horrid eccentric who had mysteriously come to dwell in the cellars, like others who, by necessity, and with the silent complicity of the administration, had found permanent shelter in the rafters of this modern Tower of Babel, where we schemed and sang in every language, and where we loved in every dialect.

"And so the Voice, the Voice that I had recognized beneath the mask, that mask which could not conceal the Voice from me, that was what was on its knees before me: a man!

"I no longer gave any thought to the horrible predicament in which I found myself; I did not even ask what was going to become of me or what was the dark and coldly tyrannical purpose which had led me to this drawing room, like a prisoner locked in a jail or a slave in a harem. No! No! No! I said to myself: ‘This is what the Voice is: a man!’ And I began to cry.

"The man, still on his knees, must have understood the meaning of my tears, for he said:

“‘It’s true, Christine!… I am neither angel, nor genie, nor phantom… I am Erik!’”

Here again, Christine’s narrative was interrupted. It seemed to the two young people that an echo had resounded behind them: “Erik!…” What echo?… They turned around, and they realized that the night had fallen. Raoul made a movement as if to stand up, but Christine grabbed him and pulled him close to her: “Stay! It is essential that you know everything here!

"Why here, Christine? I fear for your health in this chilly night."

"We must only fear the trapdoors, my friend, and here we are a world away from the trapdoors … and I am not allowed to see you outside of the theatre… This is not the time to cross him. Let’s not arouse his suspicions…"

"Christine! Christine! Something tells me that we are wrong to wait until tomorrow evening and that we should flee at once!"

“I tell you that if he does not hear me sing tomorrow evening, his pain will be immeasurable.”

“It is difficult not to cause Erik pain if you run away from him forever.”

“You are right about that, Raoul … for, certainly, he will die from my flight…”

The young woman added under her breath:

“But on the other hand, the odds are equal on both sides … for we run the risk that he will kill us.”

"Does he love you that much?”

“To the point of committing murder!”

“But his house is not untraceable… It is possible to go there and seek him out. Since Erik is not a phantom, one can speak with him and even force him to answer!”

Christine shook her head:

“No! No! Nothing can be done to fight Erik! The only thing to do is run away!”

“Then why, when you were able to run away, did you return to his side?”

“Because I had to… And you will understand that when you know how I left his house…”

"Oh! I hate him so much!…" cried Raoul… "And you, Christine, tell me … I need you to tell me this so that I can listen more calmly to the rest of this extraordinary love story … and you, do you hate him?"

"No!" said Christine simply.

"Well then, why waste your words!… You love him for certain! Your fear, your terrors, all of that is still love and of the most delicious kind! That which one does not admit even to oneself,” Raoul explained bitterly. “That which gives you a thrill when you contemplate it… Think of it, a man who lives in a palace underground!”

And he gave a scornful laugh…

“So you want me to return there!” the young woman cut him off harshly… “Beware, Raoul, I have told you: I would never come back!”

There was a terrible silence between the three of them … the two who spoke and the shadow who listened, behind them…

“Before I answer you,” Raoul said at last in a slow, deliberate voice, “I would like to know what feelings he inspires in you, since you do not hate him.”

“Horror!” she said… And she hurled this word with such force that it drowned out the sighs of the night.

“That is what is so terrible,” she went on with growing agitation… “I am horrified by him and I do not detest him. How can I hate him, Raoul? Imagine Erik at my feet, in the house on the lake, underground. He blames himself, he curses himself, he implores my forgiveness!…

"He confesses his deceit. He loves me! He lays at my feet an immense and tragic love!… He abducted me for love!… He imprisoned me with him underground for love … but he respects me, he grovels, he moans, he weeps!… And when I arose, Raoul, when I told him that I could only despise him if he did not straightaway give me back that freedom which he had taken from me, incredibly … he offered it to me … I had only to leave… He was ready to show me the mysterious way out … only … only he too arose, and I was obliged to remember that even if he is neither phantom, nor angel, nor genie, he is still the Voice, for he sang!…

"And I listened … and I stayed!

“That evening, we did not exchange another word… He had taken up a harp and he began to sing for me Desdemona’s love song — he, the man’s voice, the angel’s voice. The memory I had of singing it myself made me feel ashamed. My friend, there is a virtue in music which can make everything in the outside world cease to exist except for those sounds which touch your heart. My extraordinary ordeal was forgotten. By itself, the Voice returned to life and I followed it, intoxicated, on its harmonious journey; I became one of Orpheus’ flock! The Voice led me through sorrow and joy, through martyrdom, despair, jubilation, through death and into triumphant nuptials… I listened… The Voice continued singing… It sang to me unknown pieces … and it shared a new music which awoke in me a strange feeling of tenderness, languor, and calm … a music which, after stirring my soul, soothed it little by little, and led it to the threshold of dreams. I fell asleep.”

FdelOpera

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Re: My Translation of Le Fantôme de l'Opéra

Post  Riene on Mon Mar 14, 2016 4:07 am

I am sorry you stopped posting the translations! These were interesting, comparing them to my only copy of Leroux.

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Re: My Translation of Le Fantôme de l'Opéra

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