Richard Wagner’s magnum opus meets the celebrated translator of Jules Verne novels in this colorful and original work.
Frederick Paul Walter makes The Valkyrie 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.
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 volume is noteworthy for its inclusion of pen drawings by Mott and other relevant colorful historical illustrations placed throughout.... In this volume’s robust introduction, Walter states that his annotations will center Wagner’s work (i.e., the Ring cycle) and its text as the authoritative sources (instead of drawing on outside commentaries and analyses of the opera). To that end, Walter uses his own English translations of the text of Die Walküre, keeping in mind the alliterative effects and rhyme scheme that were important to Wagner’s original German (which in Walter’s book is printed alongside the English). At the end of each act of Die Walküre, Walter gives a one-page review of its events and themes. Walter’s useful introduction to Wagner’s masterpiece breaks down the epic opera’s plot, musical motifs, and poetic structure into digestible pieces of information; ideal for readers with any amount of previous knowledge of the Ring cycle.
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. 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.
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.
[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.
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.
4/28/22, Limelight Magazine: Frederick Paul Walter and the book were featured in this review piece.