L’elisir d’amore – Donizetti

‘Amanda Holden’s ingenious new translation….’
The Times

Amanda Holden’s translation is full of sparkling, juicy lines.

The translation of Elisir was the first of several commissioned from Amanda by English Touring Opera. Stephen Medcalf’s sunny production – designed by Isabella Bywater and set in the american mid-west – opened at the Theatre Royal in Bath on 20 October 1993 with Mary Plazas as Adina, conducted by Andrew Greenwood. During the second stage of the 1993/4 tour, which opened at Sadler’s Wells, London, the role of Adina was sung by Susan Gritton.

There have been many other productions using this text:  the original Medcalf production has often been revived too, most recently by Victorian Opera, Melbourne in 2008 with Elena Xanthoudakis as Adina.

ETO programme - Niall Morris as Nemorino

Romanza – Una furtiva lagrima


I saw the tear that furtively
down her sweet face did flow;
and when she saw those girls with me
her envy seemed to grow;
now I won’t need to go,
she loves me, I know it, yes I know.
If I could hold her close to me,
then I would hear her sigh;
if I declared my love to her,
her heart would then reply!
so close to me, her heart would then reply;
I’d whisper and I’d wait to hear her sigh.
Ah heavens I’d gladly die
since I so love her, I love her so.

excerpt from Cavatina – Benefatto degl’ uomini…


I am God’s gift to human-kind,
a healer of diseases;
because of me the hospitals
are selling off their leases;
and with my perfect remedy
throughout the world I go;
I’ve got it here, I’ve got it here,
for you the price is low.

The answer to your aches and pains,
complete with full instructions,
infections, germs and vermin
will be faced with mass destruction.
At my qualification,
you’ll gasp with admiration
just look at my certificates,
I’ve got them all on show.

My treatment is omnipotent,
resilient and brilliant,
the women all look glamorous,
the sick rise up like Lazarus;
even a man of eighty
sired ten children in a row,
there’s nothing about birth
or life or death that I don’t know. etc…

note: elisir is one of quite a few operas whose titles defy translation; cf  La finta giardiniera, La bohème. No matter, their titles are not usually sung…