Dramatic & Opera Translations

The Magic Flute

Mozart’s opera, translated by Robert and Lorna Cohen

A rhyming translation perfectly matched to Mozart’s score. Premiered at UC Irvine in 1986, under Cohen’s direction with scenery by Douglas-Scott Goheen and costumes by Beth Novak. Also produced at Biola College, 2004.

Review Excerpts

“TRULY MAGICAL. Captures splendidly the essence of this spiritual-comic-serious-fantastic opera. All aspects of the work – musical, scenic and dramatic – are given proper weight. Stunning, always apt, imaginative and wonderful.” —Los Angeles Times

“MOZART BIG HIT AT UCI. Extravagant performances marked the entire production. A refreshing, listenable translation, splendid staging, amazingly created. one spectacle after another, leaving no detail unfinished. Towering, breathtaking, fantastical musical glory.” —Irvine World News

“COMICAL, STYLISH FLUTE DAZZLES CROWD An “eye-popping” event. Awesome, comical, spectacular, brilliant… the audience could not stifle gasps.” —New University

“The new English translation provides a dynamic event. Superb characterizations permeate the entire work and remind the audience of the creative genius that is Mozart. A rich experience.” —The Daily Pilot

“Cohen’s translation and direction draw a straight, dramatic line from beginning to its end, softening some of the inconsistencies. Philosophically intriguing with an emphasis on theatricality and a dramatically vibrant cast.” —The Register

Libretto sample


Your servant’s prostrate at your feet, sir,
And begs your leave this slave to beat, sir!
Oh look at that one so absurd
Who thinks himself some kind of bird!
He stole Pamina from your palace
His heart is filled with greed and malice!
You know me! I’m your private eye.


My private eye I don’t deny.
And now for your substantial tip…


…I thank you for your statesmanship…


Just eighty-eight strokes of my whip!


Ah, sir!
Ah sir, that’s not what I deserved!


Be thankful that your life’s preserved!

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