ENRICO CARABELLI

THE DUBBING DIRECTOR

ENRICO CARABELLI

THE DUBBING DIRECTOR

Enrico Carabelli, theater actor, dubber and dubbing director, born in Barni, in the province of Como, on 6 June 1943 and died in Milan on 19 September 1997 (I was only 12 years old at the time).
All of us, let's say, of the "old guard", remember him for many things:
1. He was the dubbing director of many of the cartoons that accompanied us and that we loved during our childhood, in particular the historical series of The Knights of the Zodiac;
2. As a voice actor, having given voice to many animated characters and, in the Knights series, as Dohko of Libra or (Roshi), the master of Shiryu the dragon, Mu of Aries in the first house (2nd voice), Scorpio all 8th house (2nd entry), Aphrodite of Pisces in the twelfth house, Orion/Sirius of Canis Major, Mime of Asgard, Sorrento of Sirens (1st entry) and Orpheus of Lyra in the first feature film "The Goddess of Discord" ;
3. Furthermore, and very importantly, it is precisely thanks to his choices during the dubbing phase of The Knights of the Zodiac that we all loved the TV series.
Of course, the television series was absolutely fantastic and, despite the numerous flaws both in the dialogues and in the plot, it had many points in its favor: the fabulous drawings by Shingo Araki and Michi Himeno, the soundtrack, the scenes in which the five protagonists they were preparing to throw their shots; not to mention the armor (fantastic I would say) and when they wore it, the sense of justice, loyalty, brotherhood that shines through every single battle...and we could really go on forever.
All incredible, really, but as I see it, he was a true genius. He immediately understood that the original dialogues were very repetitive and often banal: he therefore decided, taking on a huge responsibility, that, to do something more and to make everything truly epic, he would have to use courtly and chivalrous language; let's say that it was a very bold choice, since it could have gone badly and had a very negative impact on the success of the series in Italy; apparently, however, the gamble paid off in the end (in fact, we liked it a lot, even if, being still children, we couldn't understand everything said in the dialogues).
Another thing to underline is that, even today, many believe that the names given to the characters of the series, especially those of the main protagonists, namely Pegasus (Seiya), Andromeda (Shun), Phoenix (Ikki), etc....were the result of a mistake made by him and his staff, namely Stefano Cerioni and Tiziana Tosolini: the "fault" was instead Giochi Preziosi, for a pure marketing issue and obviously to facilitate the sale of the (now vintage) models of the series.
Furthermore, another thing that not many people know, both Carabelli and all the staff really knew very little about the TV series.
Thanks also to the live interviews we did with the voice actors and with Stefano Cerioni himself, we had confirmation that, at the time, very few episodes were arriving at a time and that everything then had to be dubbed quickly.
Therefore, neither he himself nor anyone else knew with absolute certainty what would happen in the following episodes: everything could only be guessed at.
The fact is that, call it intuition, call it genius, he understood all this and, as already said before, taking on an enormous responsibility, he decided to use a language very different from the conventional one: for example, not a simple "Knight, now I will defeat you ", but enriching the dialogues with a courtly and chivalrous language, in which extensive use was also made of literary quotations (for example from Dante's Divine Comedy) and which proved suitable for this type of anime. It must be said that, to be honest, the characters in the series are defined as Saints and not Knights, but they are still warriors with a great moral spirit and sacred values, despite still being kids, both in the manga and in the souls.
Personally, I am convinced that the choice of style of the dialogues, even today, has never created major problems for fans, both historical and otherwise, but the choice of the names of the characters is certainly the real price to pay and which will last until the series Hades, in which, many years later, Ivo De Palma, former voice of Pegasus, was also entrusted with the role of dubbing director, replacing Carabelli.
De Palma himself, on his profile, recently spoke about Carabelli and when it was pointed out to him that, perhaps, the children and young people of the time might not like such a dubbing or that in any case they would have had difficulty understanding some lines in the dialogues (the scene comes to mind in which Pegasus quotes Dante saying "Yes, there, where you can, what you want) and he replied: "let them ask their parents and if they don't know, let them study and let them inform themselves.
"After all, he wasn't entirely wrong.In the various interviews held with those who had the opportunity to work on it, most of them say the same thing: it was very demanding and many times we left the dubbing room very tired.
Luigi Rosa, voice of Crystal the swan, defined him as a precursor and a genius.Unfortunately, I have a great regret in my heart, namely that of not being able to interview him or even just get to know him.
Luckily I had the honor of meeting Stefano Cerioni who, like Carabelli himself, was and still is the beating heart of the television series in Italy.
Finally, I can only say
"Thank you very much Enrico".
Yes, to me you are LEGEND!

Dossier of Francesco Catarcio
(Frank Cat on Facebook). 

Stefano Cerioni

(The editor of the dialogues)

"The episodes of the knights came infrequently.
We were almost always forced to work on a script without knowing what would happen in the next episode. Plus, the scripts were flawed.
They presented 5/6 lines written in English every 15/16 recited in Japanese and the translator, as was the custom at that time, 'fleshed out' where she could by lengthening parts of the dialogue as much as she could.
With a lot of discomfort, especially at the beginning. The scenes were crude and so was the language.
Carabelli and I often found ourselves eating together in a bar near the studio.
We talked a lot and a lot more about the knights, given the difficulties, and he confided in me all his doubts and hesitations.
Carabelli was a fervent Catholic and shuddered at the idea that a saint could declare war on the Pope and try to overthrow him because he was bad.
Which is also well highlighted by the translator.
He wanted to find a different solution, removing any reference to the Catholic religion.
So he decided to change his tone and accept my proposal, if I promised to keep it until the end: to use a language from times gone by, toning down the harshness with the help of style and vocabulary.
So I found myself using my knowledge and my 'literary' skills to give breadth to tones and characters.
And Carabelli pulled from his baggage theatrical experiences and skills that were little used at the time, especially on television.
Creating that unmistakable and precious style that we still appreciate today for its peculiarity and innovative audacity.
He was an extraordinary actor, all his techniques were aimed at enhancing the feelings of the characters and he was capable of making them interpret as he intended, bringing out talents that the dubbers had but rarely used, creating particular expressive planes, doing a second direction, using blown, carried etc.
For Mime of Asgard he even asked me to help him, convinced that I had assimilated his choices. I hoped then that this was the case and I still hope so.It was a unique experience.
I was lucky beyond belief to have the riders to work with and that situation at that particular time.I must therefore be grateful to Masami Kurumada, Shingo Araki and Michi Himeno and the composer Seiji Yokoyama for the immense work they did.
And to the dubbers who followed a track invented by Carabelli but which I was comfortable following."

Ivo De Palma

(Italian voice of Seiya di Pegasus)

"A man to whom I owe a lot, and whom I will never thank enough.
I probably didn't thank him enough even then, when he was alive.
But he was a very important professional for me.
First of all, he immediately placed a lot of trust in me, allocating me from the beginning of our partnership on roles of certain interest and particularly suited to my vocality. This allowed me to consolidate some qualities that I had already begun to refine and to acquire greater ease with the microphone.
With the Knights of the Zodiac the professional relationship acquired, for my part, an extra edge, as I found myself being the protagonist of a saga which he cared very much about, therefore his expectations towards me had suddenly grown out of all proportion, as well as luckily my microphone confidence was growing.
The paths that Carabelli invited you to follow with his guide were essentially three. The first is known to all and concerns raising the linguistic register of the product.
Courageous choice, because generally to please the public we tend to do the opposite operation, that is to simplify, to vulgarize. But no, Carabelli had very clear ideas about this.
"If the child doesn't know, ask! If the parents don't know the answer, study!".
A deliberate operation, I would dare say, "anti-marketing", which however was absolutely successful, since it created an inimitable peculiarity and in fact never taken up again by anyone, except myself in the sequel, from Hades onwards.
The second game Carabelli invited you to play was a highly psychological use of the voice, in which certain words stood out in the silence like sculptures, as a sound with meticulous, radio-like details, which could stand up even without images to support it.
As luck would have it, a few months earlier I had played the young protagonist of a beautiful radio play based on Kipling on Swiss Italian Radio, with many thoughtful effects and various dramatic scenes, so I arrived on Pegasus fresh from that previous experience, which I was therefore able to put to good use. , to the great satisfaction of Carabelli.
The third game to which the director invited us was to combine the psychological depth he instilled in the voices and the voices lavished on the characters, with a theatrical flamboyance that made plastic not only the physical poses, already iconic in themselves, but also the thoughts and arguments .
Carabelli was a man of the theatre, but in those years he did less of it, and in the Knights of the Zodiac he could rediscover the pleasure of having fun doing real vocal direction, putting together a real "symphony" (i.e., etymologically, a set of "voices" that contribute to returning a given melody).
In the meanders of the houses to pass through, he saw, and therefore also wanted to feel, the size and solemnity of the stage.
In the psychological turmoil of the characters, or in some of their more ironic moments, he wanted to hear some Shakespearean echoes resound.
"My theater is the Knights" he used to say in those two years of intermittent work on the classic series and none of us had much difficulty in understanding him, just as we all always did our best to follow him and support him in this peculiar idea of ​​his, which was very motivating also for our professionalism.
It was precisely in those years that I made my big leap in quality.
And, precisely and again thanks to Carabelli, some time later, a nice career leap, adding to my vocal performances also those of dubbing director.
Thank you so much, Enrico!"

Andrea De Nisco

(Italian voice of Shun di Andromeda)

"Many years have passed since my last dubbing session under the direction of Enrico Carabelli, a talent who left us too prematurely.
In my career as a dubbing artist, I have been lucky enough to meet many "masters" to whom I owe a lot of my profession and who I will never stop thanking, and Enrico Carabelli was undoubtedly one of the most influential.
First of all, I owe him gratitude for choosing me, almost by surprise and without fully knowing me, for the dubbing of the character of Andromeda from the legendary Knights of the Zodiac. Working with him was extremely challenging, as he was never satisfied, even when the final results were already appreciated by many.
However, his insatiable search for perfection and the constant drive to always give my best allowed me to develop acting skills that I would never have imagined.
During those years, recording technology was not as easy as today, and often the monologues written by the incomparable Stefano Cerioni, entire pages of script, were recorded in full many times and with great difficulty, because they tried to capture in every word all the possible nuances and intentions, and in each of the subsequent recordings there was always something that could be improved: sometimes it was physically tiring but also emotionally intense.
When I think of his precious advice, his corrections and his requests, I still feel a deep gratitude for having made me understand how far I could go, and it is certainly also thanks to him that, after so many years from the first broadcast, all of us who we participated in the series we are still so remembered.
I feel like I was lucky to have had the opportunity to work with him."

Dania Cericola

(Italian voice of Saori/Athena)

"Enrico was a shy soul, very reserved... a very good actor, dubber and dubbing director.
Very severe and rightly demanding during working hours, but cheerful and companionable during moments of leisure.
I owe a lot to Enrico, with whom I shared many work experiences…
He was very kind to me, we respected each other,
and so working with him was a real pleasure.
Many beautiful memories linked to those years... unfortunately now long gone..."

Jasmine Laurenti

(Italian voice of Shaina)

"The Knights of the Zodiac series was curated by Carabelli in a crazy way.
I remember well the love, care and dedication he put into it! I adored him and at the same time
I felt in awe of him, because the greatest compliments he gave you were 'Go ahead', as if to say: 'It went well, go to the next ring...' He didn't go out of his way, he didn't say 'Wow', 'Well done' or 'Okay'.
His 'Go ahead' was everything, for me. I understood, and I rejoiced in feeling approved by him.
Precisely because Enrico was demanding, I was certain that the final product would be of the highest quality. He worked conscientiously: dubbing was his mission.
And then, together with Stefano Cerioni, he concentrated on the quality of the dialogues, on the adaptation, so that the original script acquired a culturally elevated imprint.
I think this is why the series, in addition to being so loved, is still a cult after so many years. Because it was he who made it a cult."

Adriana Libretti

(Italian voice of Marin)

"He expected the best from us.
Sometimes he exaggerated.
When he lost his patience he became gruff and offensive.
I saw some voice actors dissolve into tears because of how Carabelli addressed him, but I am certain of one thing: I owe much of what I learned to him."