Guten Morgen, alles!
So, today, I’m bringing you my analysis of “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” / “Könntest du doch wieder bei mir sein” [Could You be With Me Again] from THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA! I think it’s a beautiful song in general, but the two translations each have some stunning lyrics that I just adore!
“You were once my one companion You were all that mattered You were once a friend and father Then my world was shattered.”
So, here we get a little bit of insight as to what Christine’s life must’ve been like pre-opera house. And well… it sounds like her world was relatively small and that would most certainly explain her naïve nature that she displays throughout the musical. However, we see that her close bubble was shattered when her father died.
“Du allein warst mein Beschützer, Inhalt meines Lebens. Du warst mir ein Freund und Vater, Jetzt ruf ich vergebens.” [You alone were my protector, [the] content of my life. You were a friend and father to me, Now I call [for you] in vain.]
Here, I think that it’s interesting that in the German version, we’ve already got Christine pleading with her father for help. We see this same sort of thing going on in the English version as well, just later on.
“Wishing you were somehow here again Wishing you were somehow near Sometimes it seemed if I just dreamed Somehow you would be here.”
And here, we get to see Christine wishing that she could go back to that world of hers in which nothing could possibly go wrong. In which everything was alright. And then, we see that Christine wishes that her father was back with her. And well… that’s understandable. But if we’re meshing the two versions together, we already know that that’s likely because she seeks his guidance (as well as also his friendship).
“Könntest du doch wieder bei mir sein Seit du fort bist leb’ ich kaum. Oft schien es mir, ich wär bei dir doch es war nur ein Traum.” [Could you be with me again? Since you are gone, I hardly live. Often it seemed to me I was with you But it was just a dream.]
What I really like here is the phrase “Seit du fort bist leb’ ich kaum” [Since you are gone, I hardly live]. This leads me to believe that Christine’s life at the opera house has been pretty miserable. However, maybe she’s just realizing this with all of the Phantom stuff going on as of late and her being at the center of it? I don’t know if it’s just me but one of the biggest arguments against the Phantom x Christine relationship is presented in that line alone. With the Phantom, she feels restrained. She can’t live. Not in the way she wants to because he’ll dictate her every move. And in so many ways, he wants to make her nothing but one of his possessions. He doesn’t want her to have freedom. But anyways…
“Wishing I could hear your voice again Knowing that I never would Dreaming of you won’t help me to do All that you dreamed I could.”
So here, we get the impression that Christine’s father had pretty high expectations of her while he was still alive. And even if that were not true, Christine feels that way. She feels as if she’s doing him some sort of an injustice. She feels like she’s not doing enough. And seeing as this comes right after the “Twisted Every Way” scene, one might think that she’s speaking of the moral dilemma she’s facing in regards to Don Juan Triumphant and Raoul’s plan to catch the Phantom.
“Deiner Stimme Klang fehlt mir so sehr, Früher warst du doch so nah. Träumen allein hilft mir nicht zu sein, Wie mich dein Ehrgeiz sah.” [I miss your voice so much, You used to be so close. Dreaming alone does not help me To see how your ambition saw me.]
Now, here, we get to see the word “ambition” thrown in there. In a way, the tone of the German version here seems almost… accusatory in a way? As if she somewhat resents the ambition that her father had for her and then him “leaving her” to figure out how to fulfill everything he dreamed of for her on her own. But maybe I’m reading into it too much?
“Passing bells and sculpted angels Cold and monumental Seem for you the wrong companions You were warm and gentle.”
There’s not really too much to talk about here. We just get a characterization of her father as being a kind, warm person. And it’s put in contrast with the cold, dark graveyard. Christine seems to find his death as being unfair and not right in this stanza.
“Kreuze, Moos und Friedhofsengel, Steinern, stumm und schmerzlich. Wie bist du hierher geraten? Du warst weich und herzlich.” [Crosses, moss, and cemetery- Stealing, silent and painful. How did you get here? You were soft and dear.]
Just some more of the same. However, I do like the question: “How did you get here?” expressed in the words “Wie bist du hierher greaten?” One thing that I really enjoy about the German translation is that it very much feels like she’s having a conversation with her father. You get the same sort of feel from the English version as well, but something about that aspect just doesn’t seem as strong to me.
“Too many years fighting back tears Why can’t the past just die? Wishing you were somehow here again Knowing we must say goodbye.”
Christine here, wishes that she could just let go of the past [maybe due to those expectations her father held over her still hanging over her head?]. And yet, she wishes that her father were with her again “knowing that they must say goodbye”. To me, it sounds like she wants closure.
“Wie lang muss ich weinen um dich? Kann ich mich nie befreien? Könntest du doch wieder bei mir sein, Mich verstehn und mich befreien.” [How long do I have to cry for you? Can I never free myself? Could you be with me again? Understand me and free me.]
In the German translation, we definitely do get a sort of frustration with the fact that she cannot let go of the memory of her father and she still holds him so close. She feels that she cannot ever be free whilst she is still crying for him. She wants her father to understand her and to let her go. She feels as if his spirit is holding onto her in some way and she wants to be free of it. Now, I think that in a way, she’s speaking to the Phantom here. For so many years, she believed that the Phantom was the spirit of her father in the form of the Angel of Music. Perhaps she’s begging for the Phantom to understand her plight and to just let her go.
“Try to forgive, teach me to live Give me the strength to try. No more memories, no more silent tears No more gazing across the wasted years.”
Here, Christine just wants, more than anything, to be able to be strong. She wants to be able to break free of the chains that are binding her to the past. She wants to be able to forgive the past and move on with her life.
“Nimm was zerann und gib mir dann Kraft um allein zu sein. Keine Tränen mehr, keine Bitterkeit, Keine Trauer um längst verlor’ne Zeit,” [Take what’s been spoiled and give me then Power to be alone. No more tears, no bitterness, No grief for long lost time,]
And here, we see some more of that. She wants to be able to just let go of the past and to be able to stop grieving over it as we see in the words “No grief for long lost time” expressed in the words “Keine Trauer um längst verlor’ne Zeit.”
“Help me say goodbye Help me say goodbye.”
Christine wants to be able to say a definitive goodbye. And here, I suppose that the supposition could be made that she’s speaking both to the Phantom and to her father here. She wants to be able to leave them both in the past and say “goodbye” but this proves to be immensely difficult for her.
“Hilf mir stark zu sein, Hilf mir stark zu sein!” [Help me to be strong, Help me to be strong!]
In the German translation, we get a little bit of a different feel. In the German translation, it’s clear that she’s addressing her father here and not the Phantom. But she is asking for his help to make her strong so that she can stand up to the Phantom and say goodbye to him.
Whew! And that’s done! Hope this was interesting! What do you think of the two translations? Vielen dank und tschüss!