Gevalt! Anna Netrebko sings Yiddish

It’s a lullaby by Avrom Goldfaden, and very beautiful too.

Who knew?


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  • I don’t know if Anna is Jewish or not, or if her Yiddish diction is correct, but what a beautiful voice !!!
    – Certainly doesn’t deserve the negative ‘Gevalt’ wording at beginning of this post …

  • Thank you for letting us know that she sings in Yiddish–without the captation I wouldn’t be able to undestand one single word.
    This version sound more like a Russian-Orthodox liturgy sang by the Cossacks before sacking the shetetel rather than a Jewish lullaby.

    • Disagree. Russian Orthodox liturgy music is a totally different medium.
      For me, this clip sounds like a lullaby set in a shetetel…

          • Shtetele means a small shtetl in Yiddish. Or it is a caressing form used, for example, when someone is describing some sentimental recollections about happy childhood.

          • There are options, you are correct. (In the nostalgic glow with which most people think about Yiddish, there aren’t any though.) ‘Shtetele’ is a diminutive of ‘shtetl’ (which itself is a diminutive of ‘shtot’ – town). In most literature written about the Pale of Settlement, the word used to describe small Jewish villages is ‘shtetl’.

    • Not even remotely Russian-Orthodox liturgy. Anna is not Jewish; she was born and grew up in the region of Russia, the population of which is rather anti-Semitic, so her choice of the song is quite remarkable.

    • More precisely, it should be “she”, not “sche”. This is a particle borrowed and incorporated into Yiddish from the surrounding Russian or Ukrainian languages. The meaning it transmits is some kind of nudging, like “fall asleep already”.

      • interesting. we had a neighbor who used to say vus she…..which means what “already” also he used to zog she which means speak “already” could be a location dialect. Max was from the Russian side of Poland… Borschz.

  • Wonderful. I like how the dense darkness of the voice is gradually transfigured, toward the end of those long lines, into sweetness. There s tragedy there, but also ambiguous consolation.

    • Sleep, my little bird,
      close your eyes,
      sleep, my child, sleep!
      Malach the good will be your guardian
      will stand by you til the morning
      with his wings, on your cradle,
      he will cover you softly.
      Sleep in peace, you shall not know
      of any sorrow.
      Sleep, my dear child!
      Close your eyes, my dear little bird,
      sleep long and ().

  • In my previous comment the phone automatically changed “zheh” (instead of “sche”) to “she” without my knowledge and authorization.

  • Anna has mastered her German-lyrics operatic repertoire & resides in Vienna, so this Yiddish song, with its simple lullaby verse, should predictably not pose any problem for her in terms of language. Even those not speaking Yiddish, but having basic German vocabulary, would be able to understand it. It sounds pretty much like East European German dialect to me. You don’t have to be Jewish to have proper Yiddish pronunciation & intonation. In this world of prejudice, I applaud Anna for having confidence & courage to enrich her operatic repertoire in this unusual, beautiful way.

  • Yiddish songs are beautiful. Should be better known outside our Jewish communities. These songs influenced XX century music so much.

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