Partenope – Handel
‘Amanda Holden’s racy new rhyming translation… provokes laughter and is easily audible.’
‘The other main reason for Partenope’s success was Amanda Holden’s translation of the libretto. Sticking closely to the original would have struck a false note. Instead, sly contemporary references and occasional profanities heightened the opera’s comic universality.’
This translation was commissioned by ENO for Christopher Alden’s `1920s Paris salon’ production which opened in September 2008. The cast included Rosemary Joshua, Christine Rice, Patricia Bardon, Iestyn Davies and John Mark Ainsley; it was conducted by Christian Curnyn.
The show won the Olivier Award for Best Opera Production of the 2008/9 season. It was a joint production between ENO and Opera Australia; it opened, revived by Alden and Curnyn, at the Sydney Opera House in March 2011 with Emma Matthews in the title role.
The ENO revival, 2017, with Sarah Tynan in the title role and Patricia Bardon as Arsace, (having played Rosmira in the first outing), was a big success for the performers and for Christopher Alden’s brilliant production.
`There is an archness to the whole thing that is lightly worn and worked into everything, including Christian Curnyn’s pacy conducting of the ENO orchestra… and also Amanda Holden’s neat, detailed translation of the libretto.’
`Amanda Holden’s witty translation keeps the battle references, but is full of spiffing 1920s colloquialisms’
The Arts Desk
Aria – Qual farfaletto giro a quel lume…
I am as flighty as moths in moonlight,
but not as stupid
as my friend Cupid,
he plays with fire.
When I discover one faithful lover,
I‘ll never doubt him;
something about him
will spark my desire.
Aria – Nobil core, che ben ama….
Faithful lovers wisely ponder
that if fancy never wanders,
they’ll achieve a life sublime.
Constancy’s a thing to cherish;
truthful love need never perish
e’en until the end of time.