Amanda Holden grew up in a medical/musical family where music-making was part of everyday life. After a university degree in music she won a scholarship to the Guildhall School in London as an accompanist. She then studied Music Therapy and started the department at the Charing Cross Hospital - now at the Chelsea and Westminster. She remained at the Guildhall, teaching the piano, and working as a freelance accompanist until, quite by chance, she found herself - with her ex-husband Anthony - translating Don Giovanni for Jonathan Miller at English National Opera.
Since then she has written around 60 translations as well as several librettos including Bliss for Brett Dean and The Silver Tassie for Mark Anthony Turnage, for which she became the first writer to receive the Olivier Award: Outstanding Achievement in Opera. Regarded as the “wittiest and most adroit of contemporary practitioners of this difficult craft” (Daily Telegraph) Amanda's work is regularly performed throughout the English speaking world. Translations recently heard at ENO include Rodelinda (Handel), Caligula (Glanert) and La bohème; her Castor & Pollux (Rameau) received an Olivier nomination. She has recently translated Gluck’s Orpheus and Euridice (Opera Theatre of St Louis, June 2018), Pascal Dusapin’s Passion (UK premiere, Music Theatre Wales, October 2018) and Hans Abrahamsen's The Snow Queen for it's premiere in 2019. Amanda is founder-editor of the Penguin Opera Guides; The Viking Opera Guide and The New Penguin Opera Guide, contain 850 articles on opera composers and their works; the latest shorter (5th,) edition, The Opera Guide, 100 Popular Composers, is published online.