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What are the most difficult languages to sing in?

To celebrate International Mother Language Day, we asked what languages you find it difficult to sing in.

By Chris Shipman (Content Producer (Social Media and News))

21 February 2013 at 4.59pm | 5 Comments

To celebrate International Mother Language Day, we asked those who sing among our Twitter following which languages they find the hardest to perform in.

What are the most difficult languages to sing in?

With today being International Mother Language Day, we asked what languages you find it difficult to sing in.

Storified by Royal Opera House· Thu, Feb 21 2013 07:00:23

@RoyalOperaHouse Singing in Russian was bit challenging my first time around, but after serious practice it has become a favourite!Noah Stewart
@RoyalOperaHouse Apparently Sanskrit is tricky... Ask our friends @E_N_O who did it in Satyagraha!Trevor Bowes
@RoyalOperaHouse Czech is very challenging with lots of gutteral sound alien to English speakers! A knowledge of Welsh has helped me though!Rachel Hynes
@RoyalOperaHouse Russian requires plenty of preparation, but the ubiquity of Italian means there's a lot more pressure to get it perfect. :)Gerard Atkinson
@RoyalOperaHouse English can also be a challenge despite being my native tongue...it's harder to bluff words & avoid musical theatre sounds!Mike D
The cast of The Royal Opera in Faust © Catherine Ashmore/ROH 2011Royal Opera House Covent Garden
@RoyalOperaHouse I have found Yiddish quite challenging - much to the inconvenience of the front row of the audience.Dan
@RoyalOperaHouse Welsh is pretty tricky, very gutturalClaire Lewis
@RoyalOperaHouse although it's the most singable and the 1st lang. we sing in, Italian is the most-argued-over. Many opinions & approaches!Trevor Bowes
@RoyalOperaHouse Occitan, Old French, Middle High German difficult as experts disagree on rules, but clear, spicy sounds and great poetry!Judith Malafronte
@RoyalOperaHouse I find French difficult. German and Russian are in my blood and in my fach, so I love singing on those languages.Wendy Bryn Harmer
@RoyalOperaHouse International Phonetic Alphabet is a bit of a challenge but we are getting there!BFC
Find out how The Royal Opera learn to sing in non-native languages with our look at language coaching:
Language coaching for Eugene Onegin - Royal Opera LIVEroyaloperahouse

If you sing, what language do you find it difficult to sing in?

By Chris Shipman (Content Producer (Social Media and News))

21 February 2013 at 4.59pm

This article has been categorised Music, Opera, Uncategorised and tagged Artist, baritone, bass, International Mother Language Day, performance, singer, singing, Social Media, song, soprano, tenor, vocal, vocalist

This article has 5 comments

  1. octavian singers responded on 21 February 2013 at 6:16pm Reply

    amateur choirs often only use regular European languages and some find it challenging enough! we've done bits of Russian, Spanish, Danish as well as French, German, Italian- Latin is best!!

  2. Lovely and very interesting clip.

  3. slobodan responded on 25 February 2013 at 12:58pm Reply

    I think it is russian and than serbian are the most difficult language to sing in.
    pique dame is my favorite russian opera.

  4. Jussi Tossavainen responded on 1 July 2013 at 5:16pm Reply

    Have you singers ever done any Finnish operas?

  5. English definitely !

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