Richard Wagner’s magnum opus meets the celebrated translator of Jules Verne novels in this colorful and original work.
Frederick Paul Walter makes The Rhine Gold accessible not only to scholars and opera buffs but also to fans of Tolkien, Star Wars, and Hogwarts through a dazzling new translation in lively modern English and annotations that spotlight the libretto, lyrics, and stage directions. The translation conveys Wagner’s humor, rhymes, alliterative effects, subliminal messages, and inventive tale spinning, plus it also gets the most basic ingredient right: the actual story! It highlights the motives, secrets, and plot twists— what’s really going on and what its narrative shows. The Annotated Ring Cycle includes newly created graphic-novel style illustrations that visually represent the storyline alongside full color photos of classic artwork by Arthur Rackham, Howard Pyle, Aubrey Beardsley, the 1876 costume and set designs, and much more.
Lively and vivid, Frederick Paul Walter’s new translation of The Rhine Gold will delight those familiar with the opera, while providing an inviting entry point for those who know the tale only through its role as a foundation work that has influenced everything from Bugs Bunny to The Lord of the Rings. The annotations are often wry and humorous, without in any way ceasing to be informative. The volume’s numerous illustrations are a bonus, reminding the reader that this is a work meant to be seen and heard, not merely read.
Frederick Paul Walter's clear and unpretentious new translation, annotated and illustrated, cuts through to the who's who and what's what, asking and answering all the right questions. It is as welcoming to initiates of this foundational masterwork as well as the most battle-hardened "Ringnut." The Master of Bayreuth would approve.
When so many recent works on Wagner graft extraneous elements onto his operas in an attempt to clarify what Wagner did or didn’t mean, Frederick Paul Walter’s assessment that 'the text is the way Wagner wanted it' is both refreshing and urgently needed.
Walter’s Ring Cycle series is written for a general audience and, given the publisher’s cover designs and illustrations by Cliff Mott, will please readers of graphic novels as well.
[D]on’t be afraid: Walter is neither dumbing down nor "making relevant" Wagner’s complex masterwork. His English translations of Wagner’s libretti and stage directions are crisp and modern, his annotations and asides as perspicacious as they are breezy and entertaining. His hope is that ‘newcomers and old-timers will each find that these volumes add pleasure and value’ to their enjoyment of The Ring.
The main element of Walter's project, the translation of Wagner's poem, succeeds in its principal aim, which is "to provide a clear rendering of Wagner's libretto in modern English" and to give some idea of its alliteration, colloquialism, and humor. This is a tricky undertaking.
This is a striking publication: in four large-format softbacks with vivid full-color covers, it is the work of Frederick Paul Walter, an American scriptwriter, fine-arts broad-caster and translator of several Jules Verne novels.
4/28/22, Limelight Magazine: Frederick Paul Walter and the book were featured in this review piece.