I always have a mild urge to call them feetnotes . . . .
Two things that surprised me about Der Rosenkavalier at the Met yesterday:
1. I dont think Id ever heard a non-ironic non-metaphorical use of the word lackey before, but the Mets surtitles used the word dozens of times. Perhaps they use an archaic translation? If so, how to explain the first verb in this passage:
Lerchenaus men are stoned on brandy. Theyre molesting our maids worse than Turks or Croatians. Fetch the lackeys!
Any translation that uses both stoned (except in reference to collective punishment) and lackeys is having trouble maintaining a consistent stylistic register.
By the way, I wonder how long before the unapologetic ethnic slurs in some operas cause trouble. As I recall, the other Strausss Die Fledermaus mocks gypsies and Hungarians as well as lawyers, stutterers, and a couple of other groups Ive forgotten. Not Jews, though, unless my memory deceives me, which is a pleasant surprise, now that I think about it perhaps Johann thought that had been overdone.
2. No one else laughed when the three orphan girls begging for charity from the Marschallin sang
“Father fell on the field of honor. Following him is our goal.
Am I wrong in seeing a mildly obscene pun? Surely a woman in 1911 could only fall on the field of honor by engaging in premarital sex. I suppose I should check the German text, but Im guessing that the metaphor of fallen woman and the restriction of honor in women to chastity transcended linguistic boundaries.