Ahead of Don Giovanni at the Royal Opera House tonight, NOT Là ci darem la mano but Dort reichst du mir deine Hand. Heinrich Schlusnus and Erna Berger sing Don Giovanni and Zerlina auf Deutsch. Once, singing in the vernacular was not uncommon. Sometimes singers would even sing in their own language if they couldn't master the local language. The ENO was founded on the premise that English audience "needed" English words even for basic repertoire. Nowadays, we have (I hope) learned the importance of syntax and stresses in vocal music but this clip goes to show that performance practices in the past were very different to what they are now.