Amanda Holden (Lady Margaret Hall, 1966)

The Faculty is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Amanda Holden (Lady Margaret Hall, 1966).

Amanda studied at Lady Margaret Hall with Egon Wellesz, and during her time at Oxford led the Oxford University Opera Club to a period of great creative success, with world premieres of work by Richard Morris (Agamemnon – libretto by Anthony Holden) and Stephen Oliver (The Duchess of Malfi). After leaving Oxford, she took up a scholarship at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London as an accompanist, then studied Music Therapy. In 1974, she began the music department at Charing Cross Hospital’s centre for children with learning difficulties; it has now moved to the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital.

In the mid-1980s she started work on the Viking/Penguin Opera Guides, which detailed the lives and operatic works of hundreds of composers. She also worked on her first opera translation, Don Giovanni, for the English National Opera, which was to be the first of more than 60 opera translations marked by her acute sense of style, precise musicality, and precise linguistic choices. Amanda was known for working closely with directors and conductors to find solutions in her work which would have the desired artistic outcomes, without hurting the original opera.