The Francesca Project implies that, little by little, the text and oral recordings of the verses of Francesca da Rimini (Hell, canto V, verses 88-142) be entered into this section of the Dantepoliglotta website in the various languages and dialects in which a translation exists, besides in Italian.

As a rule it will be female voices reading in their mother tongue or at least in a language of which they have a perfect command.  Occasionally, but only exceptionally, male voices will be resorted to.

We plan to publish on the appropriate web page a biographic profile with a photograph of  every person who recites.  Depending on what the reciter does, we may also publish other pictures, short extracts of video and audio recordings as well as links to that person’s website if such exists.

An initial group of readings, almost all by female voices, is already accessible on our site, for which reason the verses of Francesa da Rimini are already able to be listened to in a certain number of languages and dialects.  But the languages in which this multiethnic Francesca makes herself heard are much more numerous.

Hence our announcement: we are waiting and hoping for the other voices of Francesca to come forward and to send us the readings of those verses in their respective languages.

The most suitable reciting voices are those of young actresses or drama school girls who as a result know pretty well how to read aloud a poetry text, but any other person (young or less so) is acceptable on condition that they follow satisfactorily the instructions for expressive reading which follow below.

Your reading – only of verses 88-142 of the fifth canto of Hell – must be recorded on an MP3 format audio file with a resolution of not less than 190 and not more than 250, to be sent by email to the address together with your biographical profile (max. 12 – 15 lines), your photograph, the link, if appropriate, to your website and any other matters which you may wish to ask to include.

Note for those who do not know what MP3 format is.  All voice recordings nowadays have a connection or a USB cable to connect to a computer.  The voice recording takes on the form of an audio file in “MP3 format” which, by connecting the recording device to the computer, can be easily downloaded and then attached to an email for despatch.

Guide to expressive reading of a poetry text (directed to non-professional readers and persons with no acting experience)

  1. Reading poetry aloud is not theatre.  So the reading does not have to be emphatic or melodramatic; in other words it does not have to be “recited”.  On the other hand it must not go to the other extreme of being a listless, expressionless reading with no nuance. The reading of a poetry text must instead be sober but expressive, so as to manage to convey efficiently, but pleasingly, to the listener sensations and emotions as if they were the poet’s own: the intervention of the reader has to be so subtle that the listener forgets him or her and is suffused by the voice of the poet.
  2. Above all one must avoid reading the text too fast.  The reading must be calm and serene.  In particular the reading, in order to be expressive and subtle at the same time, must not go to extremes, must not adopt a sing-song or excessively rhythmic tone, must not include passages with an unjustifiable or unnatural timbre of the voice.
  3. Since the translations which have been considered for the Francesca Project are almost always in the same meter as the original, you will need to take care always to maintain the hendecasyllable rhythm.  For example, if necessary, by joining together several consecutive syllables when, although strictly speaking there are several distinct syllables, the meter demands that they be joined into a single syllable.
  4. It is necessary always to let the change from one verse to another be heard without ever overdoing it. There are those who make the mistake in one way, by always indicating the break between one verse and the next and by doing so in the same fashion, possibly also by overstressing, and those who make the opposite error by joining together the verses without the slightest indication of the change from one verse to the next as if a prose text were being read.
  5. In conclusion, the reading of a poetry text must suggest emotions (so it must not be cold), but must not claim to intrude on the emotions of the mind of the listener: it must just delicately offer them up to him.  The best way of understanding what we are trying to say when we talk about subtle expressiveness which delicately offers up emotions is to listen to the readings of the verses of Francesca da Rimini which have already been put on our website and which have been done expertly.  It is also useful to listen to a reading in a language of which you do not have the slightest knowledge.  It suffices to listen to the reading, verse by verse, following its text in a language which you know well: if the reading has been done with the right expressiveness and in accordance with the rules laid out above, you will succeed in following it and savouring it almost as if the language were known to you.