Libretto translator

Translates librettos from the original language into another language - in my case, English - while preserving as much of the original's meaning, scansion and rhyme. This is of course an impossible demand: where the sense follows the sound, nonsense is likely to be the result. Where the sound follows the sense, the result can be unsingable.

The librettos I have had greatest satisfaction in translating are those of the Italian opera buffa: Mozart's La finta semplice (The make-believe simpleton), Cimarosa's Il matrimonio segreto (The secret marriage) and Stradella's Trespolo il tutore (Trespolo the tutor). Here, the translator can follow the nonsensical, comical twists and turns of the plot with equally nonsensical, comical rhymes. In particular the patter presents a challenge which is fun to solve, and the intricate rhyming can stretch the possibilities of English to the limit.




My singing translations are the following, and I would be more than happy to add to the list.

Weber, Der Freischütz (The free-shooter) for Welsh National Opera

Dvořák, Jakobin (The Jacobin) for Scottish Opera

Cimarosa Il matrimonio segreto (The secret marriage) for Opera North

Mozart, Ascanio in Alba for Buxton Festival

Mozart, La finta semplice (The make-believe simpleton) for New Chamber Opera

Mozart Bastien und Bastienne for Welsh National Opera

Stradella, Trespolo il tutore (Trespolo the tutor) for New Chamber Opera


Please contact me on if you would like to commission a singing translation.