Copyright © 2024 Euromaidanpress.com

The work of Euromaidan Press is supported by the International Renaissance Foundation

When referencing our materials, please include an active hyperlink to the Euromaidan Press material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. To reprint anything longer, written permission must be acquired from [email protected].

Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Adrian Bryttan reads his new translations of Taras Shevchenko

Adrian Bryttan reads his new translations of Taras Shevchenko

Sunday April 26, 3:00 pm at Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences (UVAN) N.Y. 206 W 100 St (near Bway) New York City. (212) 222-1866.

My main goal was to recreate in English the musical elements of the original Ukrainian, including all rhymes and internal rhythms and elements. The lyricism and emotional power of Ukraine’s greatest poet will be represented by my translations of “the River Sprite” (Русалка), “The Silken Scarf” (Хустина), “The Drowning” (Утоплена), “Kateryna” (Катерина) and other poems. These poems deal with the rich Ukrainian folklore (witches, mermaids-rusalkas, potions, the drowned returning), historical battles, and Shevchenko’s meditations on his his sufferings during his enforced exile and his early years as a serf.

A slide show to set the mood will accompany each reading.

Excerpt from my translation of “Rusalka” (Русалка):

“The River Sprite” – translation by Adrian Bryttan

In a mansion grand and high

I came into this world and cried,

My mother bore me to the river

To bathe me ‘neath the black night sky.

Washing me, she whispered

To her newborn daughter:

“Swim, swim, my little one

With all the Dnipro’s waters.”

“Tomorrow as a river sprite

Rise from the deep in dead of night.

By moonlight I will dance with him…

Tickle him, give him a fright.”

“Yes, tickle him, my precious heart,

So he’ll not laugh nor wink

To mock my maiden years…

Like a drunkard, may he drink

No more my crimson tears,

May this river blue

Now quench his thirst!…  he’ll dance

With you, my daughter, you!”

“Swim, swim, my only child…”

“O waves, my waves that roll and glide,

Greet now your latest river sprite!”

Aloud she cried…

And fled… So I did slide

And slip along the stream

Till my new sisters surfaced soon,

Enfolding me as in a dream.

 

For seven nights we sister sprites

Our midnight revels played,

I searched to espy my father

Near the river every day.

“Perhaps they’re reunited

In the lofty mansion there,

Perhaps she’s lost in sweet delight

Once more, my sinful mother dear?”

The river sprite grew still…

Then darted like a little fish and fled…

While voiceless at the water’s edge,

A weeping willow bowed her head…

 

In 2005-2006 I was a Fulbright Scholar in Ukraine and conducted professional operas and symphonies and taught at musical conservatories throughout the country. An outgrowth was my translations of operas by Mozart and Puccini into Ukrainian. I later conducted “Gianni Schicchi” and “Suor Angelica” showcasing these translations in the Dnipropetrovsk Opera Theater in Ukraine in 2007.

100_4570
Adrian Bryttan, translator

While translating these operas, I was delighted to discover many surprising similarities between Italian and Ukrainian, not just in individual words but even in basic grammatical structures. My experience gained in creating singable operatic translations with all their accuracy of meaning, intelligibility and flowing rhymes led to this project to translate Shevchenko. The Ukrainian bard’s lyrical and compact style is noted for many musical elements in the crafting of his sounds, and his sophisticated inner rhythms. To translate Shevchenko in such a faithful manner was quite complex, but ultimately most rewarding.

 

You could close this page. Or you could join our community and help us produce more materials like this.  We keep our reporting open and accessible to everyone because we believe in the power of free information. This is why our small, cost-effective team depends on the support of readers like you to bring deliver timely news, quality analysis, and on-the-ground reports about Russia's war against Ukraine and Ukraine's struggle to build a democratic society. A little bit goes a long way: for as little as the cost of one cup of coffee a month, you can help build bridges between Ukraine and the rest of the world, plus become a co-creator and vote for topics we should cover next. Become a patron or see other ways to support. Become a Patron!

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here

You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Please leave your suggestions or corrections here


    Euromaidan Press

    We are an independent media outlet that relies solely on advertising revenue to sustain itself. We do not endorse or promote any products or services for financial gain. Therefore, we kindly ask for your support by disabling your ad blocker. Your assistance helps us continue providing quality content. Thank you!