“A genius and legend in her own lifetime. Her unique legacy will continue to shine and enrich our collective operatic past, present and future”

The Glyndebourne Festival

We are delighted to announce that Scenes from the Wild, composed by Cheryl Frances-Hoad, to a libretto by Amanda Holden, won the 2022 Ivor Novello Composer Awards Large Ensemble category.

We are delighted to announce that the DVD of Hans Abrahamsen’s The Snow Queen, in Amanda Holden’s English version,  has won the Contemporary Recording category in the 2022 Gramophone Awards.

Amanda Holden
photo Clive Barda, 1993

Amanda Holden (1948-2021) was a musician, lyricist and translator –  the only librettist to have received the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera (2001) – as well as the only translator to receive an Olivier nomination (2012) in the same category. She wrote more than 60 English texts for stage and concert performance; the majority of them are opera translations.

Amanda was also the founder editor of the Penguin and Viking Opera Guides – encyclopaedic reference books detailing the lives and works of c.900 opera composers.

The Opera Guide – 100 Popular Composers was first published in December  2015 and is available as an eBook on Amazon Kindle. Buy the 2021 edition for £4.99 by clicking the image.

This is a complete revision of the old Penguin Concise Guide to Opera with a lively Foreword by international opera director, Sir David Pountney. It covers all of today’s most popular opera composers – 18 of them living – and over 250 of their works in detail; it is the most up-to-date opera guide available.


‘ENO has a new translation by Amanda Holden, wittiest and most adroit of contemporary practitioners of this difficult craft.’ Michael Kennedy, Daily Telegraph

opera guide editor…

‘A scholar of opera… one of the most profoundly knowledgeable people about the whole opera legacy’ Sir David Pountney in The Guardian


‘his [Brett Dean’s] virtuoso librettist…’ Hilary Finch, The Times

‘However mundane or however ordinary a person an operatic character is, under the scrutiny of music they are going to become something interesting; ordinariness is, after all, what a lot of us are, but we are also all slightly special.’   AH: interviewed in The Weekend Australian

The copyright in Amanda Holden’s work is either owned by OperaWords Ltd or by their relevant publisher; it is illegal to perform any of them (in whole or in part) without prior permission. For all enquiries and permissions please use the form on the CONTACT page.