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Re: [Tlhingan-hol] Klingon Word of the Day: ghe'naQ

Steven Boozer (

> Klingon Word of the Day for Thursday, July 23, 2015
> Klingon word: ghe'naQ
> Part of speech: noun
> Definition: opera

  may' ghe'naQ[na'] lumuchrup tera'nganpu'. 
  We Terrans will be performing an authentic battle opera. ('U'-MTK)

  'u' 'oH ghe'naQ pong['e'].  
  The name of the opera is {'u'}. 

  ghe'naQ Daqvo' QInvam wIlab. 
  We will place a homing device transmitting this message at the site
   of the opera. ('U'-MTK)

Cf. SkyBox card S39 ("Klingon Opera").

KGT 73:  Among the traditional musical forms is what has come to be known as Klingon opera, or {ghe'naQ}. This form of music is stylistically rigorous, following specific patterns both in terms of composition and performance. There are those who vary somewhat from the tight structure, but the traditional style, sometimes called {ghe'naQ nIt} (perhaps grand opera, though literally something like "unsullied opera") is preferred by purists. The stories acted out in Klingon operas may be adapted from a variety of sources: legends, history (particularly military history), famous works of literature. Occasionally, an opera presents an original plot. To follow the story, one has to prepare ahead of time. First of all, the performance of Klingon opera is quite stylized--that is, unnatural. Certain actions are exaggerated, others are condensed (a certain arm movement, for example, may indicate a battle has been fought and won). Perhaps more significant, however, is that with rare exception, the libretto of a Klingon opera ({bom mu'}, the words) is in an ancient tongue heard now only in the operas and certain classic theatrical works. From time to time, a famous opera has been translated into contemporary Klingon, but this is generally considered a learning tool, hardly {ghe'naQ nIt}. True devotees will study the original libretto, often learning to sing the arias themselves.

KGT 12f.:  In addition, virtually all of Klingon opera is written in {no' Hol}. In order to follow an opera even superficially, one should prepare before attending a performance by studying the story. For a deeper appreciation, however, it is essential to study also the linguistic structures used in the opera's libretto. As a result, aficionados of this musical form tend to be from the upper levels of society and rather well educated, though this is not invariably the case.

st.k:  The verb for write in the sense of compose is {qon}, literally "record". This is used for songs and also for literary works (poems, plays, romance novels, and so on). As has been pointed out, it's as if the song or story is somehow out there and the 'writer' comes into contact with it, extracts it (to use Qov's nice phrase), and records it. ... Similarly, something like {bom gher} "he/she formulates the song" would be taken as a disparaging comment about the song or its composer (and is, in fact, sometimes heard when the song in question is of non-Klingon origin).

HQ 12.2:8f.:  There is a difference between the end of the performance of a song or opera or play, indicated by  making use of the verbs {van} and {ghang}, and the ending, or final portion, of a song or opera or play itself. For an opera, play, story, speech, and so on, the final portion is its {bertlham}. This word usually refers to the last aria or other musical portion in an opera, last speech in a play, last sentence or so of a story or an address. The {bertlham} of a well-known work is often well-known itself, as is its beginning ({bI'reS}). For a song-but only for a song-the final portion is its {'o'megh}. Parallel to {bertlham}, {'o'megh} is the final phrase or so of the song, one that brings the song to a definite conclusion ... To begin to sing a song is to {lIH} (literally, "introduce") the song, and that portion of the song that comes at the beginning-a portion that is often so familiar that listeners know what song it is after hearing just that short portion-is the {namtun}.

KGT 76:  the large [instrument] {tIngDagh} is rarely heard except in conjunction with the performance of an opera.

HQ 10.4:  Maltz ... thinks {po Ha'DIbaH} [literally "morning animal"] has some sort of literary source, since it is used in operas and plays but not often in everyday speech.

KGT 129f.:  The association of thirst with singing is probably due to the custom of accompanying drinking with singing and the usual practice of continuing both of these activities for a great length of time. Hence, "thirsty as a singer." 


{tlhIngan jIH} is a popular opera about the nature of being Klingon. (STK/KCD?)

{'aqtu' mellota' je} "Aktuh and Mellota" (Worf was particularly fond of a love duet for male and female singers [cf. TKW; there's a sound file online at ; another collection is at]).

{qul tuq} "House of Fire" is a popular Klingon opera telling the tale of the House of SepIch. Qua'lon gave Pok a leather-bound copy of the score to this opera as his {cha'nob} [gift]. (KCD)

Can the songs and acting traditionally performed during the Kot'baval Festival be termed {ghe'naQ}? (cf. TNG "Firstborn")

ghe'naQ nIt 	grand opera (KGT)
may' ghe'naQ 	battle opera) ('U'-MTK)

Huy'reH 		aria style (PB)
cha'ang 		chorus style (PB)
jachwI'na' 	true screamer - Master of the Scream, i.e. the traditional
                 narrator role in Klingon opera (PB xvii)

Ca'Non Master of the Klingons

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