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The Ring of the Nibelung Paperback – August 17, 1977
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Top Customer Reviews
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).
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have the Wagner - Der Ring des Nibelungen / Levine, Metropolitan Opera (Complete Ring Cycle) and enjoy watching it periodically. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Bernie
Every ring nut needs this libretto after a while and this is the best one out there. First learn the Ring with a DVD with sub-titles. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Phillip S. Greene
This book is highly reflective of its title. I used it for a class at school and it was VERY helpful.Published on December 23, 2012 by Elizabeth Brewster
A spectacular performance. BUT, on the last disc (Gotterdammerung) we cannot set the English sub-titles, it reverts to German each time. Read morePublished on October 16, 2012 by WendyFay
I bought this a long time ago to go along with the then reasonably priced Krauss Ring. Though I use the subtitles when watching on DVD, this translation works so much better than... Read morePublished on July 29, 2012 by tom h.
I needed a copy of the Ring libretto and I got one that was perfect for me. Not only that, the price was what I could afford. Read morePublished on January 6, 2012 by Tempus Fugit
I have not read other translations or versions of this opera but what a pleasure this one is! And having the German on the facing page was an added delight. Read morePublished on May 13, 2010 by M. Shea
This is a great volume for any Ring lover. The translations are solid and easy to use with the German original since the phonetic cadences match. Read morePublished on April 1, 2010 by ROBERT