Il nuovo libretto basato su un’inedita traduzione, operata da James M. Bradburne, a partire dal testo originale in tedesco del 1923

Traccia 2


He walks down the road at twilight,
houses lean here and there, red and blue and in patches.
How strange they are! He carries a small glass in his hand,
and in it is a fish called Nickeling
swimming around, rising and sinking.
The street is very quiet and the moon sails over the colourful rooves
The little fish grows in his hand,
It grows and grows! It smashes the glass to pieces,
and soon above the street hovers a giant fish.


Traccia 3


O, fish, my dear fish, the fish I have sheltered,
kept, nurtured and raised with tasty ant eggs,
grant me my life!
Do not take up the whole street, the whole land, the whole sky
but leave me a little bit of space too!

Traccia 4


Peregrin, come with me, leave this weary country,
the world is wide. The world is wild. The world has many shores to discover!
Peregrin, come with me.

Traccia 5


O, dear fish, where shall we go? Would a strange new land be better than the one I know?


Traccia 7


Get out and stretch
Run down the strand
And when you’re tired
Sleep on the sand

But if you need
My help again
Just fill your lungs
Shout out my name

Far away
I may be found
In the depths
I hear your sound

I’m still a fish
But when you sing
I hear my name
It’s Nickeling!

Traccia 8

Voce narrante

The world he left behind is so unfair,
one knows neither where nor when disaster will strike,
and it is hard to live, hand to mouth,
from today to tomorrow.
Very shy and very anxious
Peregrin walks along the sandy path,
His legs are wet,
He is sick with cold.
He wasn’t happy at home,
but he wishes he were there now,
He hates adventures, he feels so alone!
His steps become slower and more hesitant.


Traccia 9


O fish, where have you brought me,
And why have you left me here?
Who will come to help me now,
if the people here are wild and uncivilised?
How will I earn my way? How will I pay for my dinner?
Before this I was poor and unhappy,
But I knew how to survive.

Traccia 10

Voce narrante:

Not far from the shore is a town,
which Peregrin approaches fearfully.
He doesn’t know anyone who lives there,
he doesn’t know if they speak his language,
whether they are friendly or unkind.
Peregrin avoids everyone in the beginning.
He keeps his head down, he keeps his eyes down,
he dares not ask anyone for directions.
He trembles and stops at the end of the town.

Two beautiful boys come towards him,
They greet him the way you would greet a long-awaited friend
and pepper him with questions:

First boy (Melchior):

He’s just arrived in the city
If the Fish brought him,
Everyone will welcome him as a brother

Second boy (Thymian):

Where are you from?
From over the seas?
Did you sail or row?
How was your journey?
Was it stormy or calm?

Melchior and Thymian:

Did you see flying fish?
Seagulls, jellyfish?
Was it thrilling?


I came on the Fish, from so far away, it seems like a dream.

Melchior and Thymian:

Did you see flying fish?
Seagulls, jellyfish?
Was it thrilling?

You must be hungry –
let’s run and set the table!


Traccia 11

Declamato (a boy):

How wet his clothes really are!


Shirt, trousers, shoes,
a white collar, a buckle bright,
and even a light green cap with a tassel.
But I don’t have a penny,
I am completely without money,
I was never allowed to have anything nice!

Declamato (a boy):

What is a penny?
What do you do with it?

Traccia 12


We can’t buy
We can’t sell
We don’t need a thing!
We eat what we bring

We don’t cry
We share things
We all work for all
We help those who fall

That’s why
We don’t cry
We have what we need
We live without greed
That’s why! That’s why!

Traccia 13


The fish that brought me here,
is a very good Fish I sing!
A Red Fish, a splendid Fish!
A Sparkling Fish, a Clinking Fish
A Fish called Nickeling!

Traccia 14


Here in the orchard
Are rows of smooth trees
Through branches
of ripe fruit
Fly sparrows and bees

The boys come
with ladders
The cherries to pick
red, round
and ripening
Their baskets fill quick


I love my little skiff,
planked in green and grey.
fish leap from the water
And join me on the way.

red apples in the basket
a pretty sight indeed.
All for the market
Take what you need!

Traccia 15



A new house is built!
Soon it will be ready.

Traccia 16

Six friends:

Hyacinth : Look what I’ve found
Thymian: A shiny shell
Peregrin: A distant star
Sebastian:   A world far away
Peregrin: So near and so far
Melchior: Look what I’ve found
Hyacinth: A tulip flower
Peregrin: A bumblebee
Violet: A new game to play
Peregrin: A new way to see

Traccia 17


Far away a fish is swimming
Somewhere far away
Far away a boy is dreaming
Somewhere far away
Far away a world is crumbling
Angry voices shouting grumbling
Far away a world is burning
Somewhere far away

Here and now a boy is dreaming
Working on the land
Happy voices, anvils ringing
Clapping, working, laughing, singing
Children sharing, children bringing
Prepared to lend a hand.
Here and now a boy keeps dreaming
Fairness freedom no-one needing
Somewhere far away.

Traccia 18


How kind you are to me, dear bird,
how close you are, dear tree,
and you, the garden where I dig!
My heart is carefree,
untroubled by useless possessions.
We all live so well
so helpfully and happily and without harm.
But I miss the Fish, he brought me here.

(chiama ad alta voce): Nickeling!

Traccia 19


Get on! Get on!
Get on my back
I’ll take you back
to where you came from!


Please no!
I didn’t call
To go back home
I just called
To say thank you Nickeling

How fine it is
to live here
For now, forever!

Traccia 21


Why the world is so unfair;
one day joy the other despair
We never know what each day brings:
sunshine, rain or hurtful things
Somewhere may be a better land;
friendly folk who lend a hand 
Build together, play and sing,
making sharing everything
A new world indeed there might;
but here the world is not yet right.

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