The Pearlfishers – Bizet
‘…there is little a translator can do except reproduce the plonking clichés of the original – which Amanda Holden bravely does in her new version.’
AH: Of the three Bizet translations I have written, this was the first. I know of no other composer whose librettos are so amazingly diverse. This translation – perhaps the hardest of the three as it’s the least good libretto – was commissioned by English Touring Opera for their production in 1996.
The cast included Adrian Clarke and Nicholas Sharratt; it was conducted by Andrew Greenwood and directed by Caroline Gawn.
from the Duet – Au fond du temple saint…
And from the golden door,
a veil upon her brow,
a woman appeared,
I think I see her now.
The crowd on bended knee
wonders who she can be,
they are murmuring thus:
`Look there, it is the goddess
who appears, fair and modest,
showering blessings on us.’
Her veil lifts in the breeze…
Oh! It’s a glimpse of heaven!
The people fall to their knees.
ZURGA] We have seen a vision of beauty,
NADIR] pure perfection, heavenly grace
we have seen a vision of beauty,
who descends from above.
That veil lifts in the breeze…
and the crowd is on its knees.
She is gone!
But, straight away in my heart,
there’s a strange obsession burning.
I am consumed by a yearning.
And Fate has wrenched us apart…
Recordings: Sir Thomas Allen Recital disc