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Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: A well-cared-for item that has seen limited use but remains in great condition. The item is complete, unmarked, and undamaged, but may show some limited signs of wear. Item works perfectly. Pages and dust cover are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine is undamaged.
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The Ring of the Nibelung Paperback – August 17, 1977

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

'Andrew Porter's utterly natural, often poetic, faithfully rendered English text should be a revelation...The immediacy of instant comprehension gives the entire drama an added dimension.'--The New York Times

About the Author

Wagner studied harmony, piano, and violin, and religiously copied Beethoven's symphonies for personal study. He was banned from Germany, and fled to Switzerland. He was allowed to return in 1861, but fled to Vienna to avoid imprisoment for debt.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (August 17, 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393008673
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393008678
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.9 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #266,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Andrew Porter's English translation of the 'Ring' was written to be sung. It has been used in performances of the 'Ring' cycle at English National Opera and elsewhere. When reading this translation, and perhaps using it to follow a recording or broadcast of any of these operas in the original German, you should keep in mind that it is not a *literal* translation. Porter has taken some liberties with the meaning of the original text, in order to match the rhythms of his English as closely as possible to those of Wagner's archaic German. The translator has also attempted to capture some of the alliteration that is characteristic of Wagner's *stabreim*.
It is clear that Andrew Porter understands the text of the 'Ring' well enough that he was able to make this "poetic" translation without distorting the meaning of the original text. For a literal, accurate translation, the only one currently available is by Stewart Spencer (Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung: The full German text with a new translation and commentaries, Thames and Hudson, 1993). You might also be able to find in a library or for sale used, the William Mann translation (Centurion Press Ltd, 1964).
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If you collect audio "Ring" CDs, throw out all the libretti that may have come with your CDs and buy porter's book! The nice thing about this translation is that it (a) is understandable, and (b) is easy to follow along to an audio performance because it matches the singing syllable to syllable. Care was also taken in the translation so that the english words occur in the appropriate places where the motif occurs in the music. Also, proper names match up one for one with the German. So, for example when someone refers to "Siegmund", on a recording, the English text at that point is "Siegmund"! Awesome synchronization!
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book hoping to better understand the text that appears poorly translated in CD librettos. I found that not only the poem (as Wagner called it) is more readable and understandable, but also perfectly matches the music sung in German, so one can read it in English following every syllable along with the music. And that is an important feature for the ring operas, or for all Wagner operas for that matter, mainly because the orchestra contributes so much to the meaning of what the characters are saying. I highly recommend this book to whoever is in the pursuit to better understand the ring operas. I only wish from this book that it had a Spanish translation as well, but I guess that would be asking way too much.
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Format: Paperback
For many years, this has been my go-to translation When listening to the Ring. It is very well done stylistically, and makes good reading on its own, which is high praise for any opera libretto translation. This translation preserves the syllables and rhythms of the original German, so it is singable (well, anyway that is what my musically trained friends tell me). It seems to be an excellent translation, but my German is kinda weak, so I have no way to judge the accuracy.

One big problem: it has only the English translation. It does NOT have the German text. However, I have found that if you follow the syllables and who is singing, with a little practice, I can follow along with the Ring just by reading this book, even w/o the German text side-by-side.
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Format: Paperback
The Ring cycle by Wagner is a big, popular, and important work. Yet, the story is not as well known as you might assume. It is one thing to hear the music and some idea of the broad strokes of the story, but it is another to dig into it. Here is a way for English speakers to get to know the story. It provides the original German for comparison and checking the translation, if you wish. But the story reads very well in the English.

Andrew Porter provides an opening essay explaining his goals in this translation and what problems and compromises had to be made. He made this translation in order to be SUNG with the music. It is practical in that sense. Some of the literalness of the translation had to be sacrificed, but the meaning of the passages has been preserved.

This translation was never meant to be a poetic translation, although there are some very nicely done passages. Wagner's German isn't all that lyric, for that matter.

What is the story? This is Wagner's attempt to reuse some ideas from the Norse myths into a modern (for the 19th century) Germanic myth. It revolves around some gold stolen from the Rhinemaidens and fashioned into a Ring by a miserable dwarf. This Ring gives its bearer the power to enslave the world, but brings with it a great curse. The Ring brings its power and curse to its maker, to Wotan, to Fafner, to Seigfried, and even Brunhilde. These are stories of hatred, love, betrayal, promises made and broken, heroism, cowardice, and death. So, it makes for great dramatic opportunities for a great cycle of operas.

Enjoy reading the story so when you listen to it in German you have a much better understanding of what is going on.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have the Wagner - Der Ring des Nibelungen / Levine, Metropolitan Opera (Complete Ring Cycle) and enjoy watching it periodically. However the after covering the book a couple of times I can enjoy the film without always stopping to read subtitles. I understand some German but am still translating instead of thinking. Now however I am beginning to enjoy the reading its self. The parallel language columns make it easier to follow. The book has a superb 20-page introduction into the plusses and minuses of translation and still matching the music. After the introduction it gets right down to business.
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