The Magic Flute – Mozart

‘Amanda Holden’s new translation is lively and singable….’
The Times

‘Amanda Holden’s new translation doesn’t try to sweeten Sarastro’s pronouncements on women’s need of men to guide them; but it emphasises that even this wise old man has been proved wrong…’

The translation was commissioned by Grange Park Opera for their tenth anniversary in 2007. The director was Stephen Medcalf.

Most operas are performed at Grange Park in the original language with surtitles, so this was unusual; but it was wonderful to write lyrics and dialogue for English-speaking singers and to witness the English-speaking audience listening and laughing. this isn’t possible when surtitles are used.

note: this translation is completely different to that written for the Faber book – also by AH.

Aria – Der Vogelfanger bin ich ja


I work here on this great estate
in woods and fields from dawn til late;
I can identify each bird
that I have ever seen or heard;
I either watch them on the wing
or imitate the songs they sing;
and when I play beneath a tree,
they flutter down and call to me.
I work here on this great estate,
in woods and fields from dawn til late;
here in the country, keeping game
there never are two days the same.

I feed the birds throughout the year,
we’ve quite a range of species here,
but then of course they all get shot
because I breed them for the pot.
Although I’m cheerful and well-known,
I’m bored of living on my own;
there’s one thing that I crave from life,
I long to find a lovely wife;
she’ll be the bird I love the most,
more tasty than stuffed grouse on toast;
I’d greet her in the morning light
and keep her safe and warm at night.

Duet – Bei Männern

A man who cares for love and beauty
deserves to win a woman’s heart.

It is a woman’s bounden duty
to share his life and play her part

In love the joys of life are found,
love is what makes the world go round.

It’s love that sweetens every sorrow
for every creature and her mate;

It helps us face each new tomorrow
and to accept the will of Fate.

When we aspire to heaven in life,
nothing competes with man and wife;
man and wife and wife and man,
that’s how human life began.

see also:
Other Published Work