The Marriage of Figaro – Mozart
‘Amanda Holden’s translation is racy… a case-book demonstration of how to popularize opera without vulgarising it.’
‘Above all, it is the cast’s communication of the text – in Amanda Holden’s vernacular English version – which thrills and delights. I can’t remember a Figaro that drew such spontaneous and uninhibited mirth.’
‘The performances gained hugely from Amanda Holden’s skilful translation: there’s no better argument for opera in translation than to hear an audience erupt into laughter at the precise moment of a joke…’
‘Amanda Holden, responsible for some of the wittiest and most successful English renderings of Mozart operas, has provided a new translation for this Opera North staging.’
`A word, though, for Amanda Holden’s translation, which contributed a lot to the enjoyment of the evening with dialogue that was sassy, modern and entertaining without falling into the common trap of working too hard for laughs by adding in contemporary references.’
The translation was commissioned by Opera North for their 1992 production, directed by Caroline Gawn and conducted by Andrew Parrott. Gerald Finley took the title role, Linda Kitchen sang Susanna and Robert Hayward the Count. It was revived in 1996, and again in 2000 with Clive Bayley as Figaro.
Other productions include:
Mid Wales Opera: directed by Richard Studer, 2020 (tour sadly curtailed by the Coronavirus lockdown).
Mid Wales Opera: directed by Martin Lloyd Evans, 2009
English Touring Opera: directed by Stephen Medcalf, 1997
Cavatina – Se vuol ballare…
Lead me a dance if you like little master.
As you go faster I’ll play along.
So you’re assuming I will assist you,
never resist you, that’s where you’re wrong.
I know exactly how to set about it
and you will find your little intrigue
won’t last very long.
I shall be scheming when you’re pretending,
joking and teasing when you’re dissembling;
you’ll go to purgatory where you belong.
Canzona – Voi che sapete…
Show me what love is, you know so well,
When I have found it, how shall I tell?
What I am feeling I’ll share with you
It’s so revealing, tempting and new.
Love’s an emotion I can’t explain
Burning devotion mingled with pain;
First I am frozen, then I’m on fire,
Blazing with passion, weak with desire.
Someone must help me, take me in hand,
Teach me the things I don’t understand;
I can’t stop crying although I try,
Shaking and sighing, I don’t know why;
I cannot rest by night or by day
But it is heaven pining away.
Show me what love is… [etc.]