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.’
The Times

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.

ETO programme, 1996

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…

see also:
Recordings: Sir Thomas Allen Recital disc