Richard Wagner’s magnum opus meets the celebrated translator of Jules Verne novels in this colorful and original work.
Frederick Paul Walter makes Siegfried 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. Accompanying the translation and annotations are dozens of photos of classic artwork by Arthur Rackham, Howard Pyle, Aubrey Beardsley, the 1876 costume and set designs, and much more.
Scriptwriter, fine-arts broadcaster, publicist, translator, and college theater director, Frederick Paul Walter has worked for Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Opera Southwest, and other performance organizations. He has written on Wagner, classical music, and opera for nearly half a century and has published modern translations of science fiction thrillers by French novelist Jules Verne for State University of New York and the U.S. Naval Institute. He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
This is a tremendous piece of work, enabling the uninitiated and the initiated alike to see with crystal clarity what’s really going on in the murky depths of human life Wagner is intent on exploring. It’s an easily followed map to the vast and deceptive terrain. The translated texts are also of exemplary clarity and reveal the libretto’s relationship to the Greek plays that were his inspiration and ideal. Altogether, an indispensable vademecum to any engagement with The Ring.
Lively and vivid, Frederick Paul Walter’s new translation 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.
What a pleasure, as Wagner's great cycle forsakes the world of the gods for that of men, to see this evolution brought to English-language readers with such clarity and insight. A tour de force.
This book will provide such a valuable tool for all, whether artist, student, or just a passionate Wagner fan wanting to dig a little deeper. I chased the insight and information held herein for years, and here it is now in one volume.
This new, annotated Siegfried is a wonderful addition to the literature, filled with wonderful references to leitmotives, illustrations and the text in excellent translation. This is one you will want to add to your collection, for performers and enthusiasts alike.
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.