Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung #1-4

The Ring of the Nibelung

Rate this book
The scale and grandeur of Wagner's The Ring of the Nibelung has no precedent and no successor. It preoccupied Wagner for much of his adult life and revolutionized the nature of opera, the orchestra, the demands on singers and on the audience itself. The four operas-The Rhinegold, The Valkyrie, Siegfried and Twilight of the Gods - are complete worlds, conjuring up extraordinary mythological landscapes through sound as much as staging.

Wagner wrote the entire libretto before embarking on the music. Discarding the grand choruses and bravura duets central to most operas, he used the largest musical forces in the context often of only a handful of singers on stage. The words were essential: he was telling a story and making an argument in a way that required absolute attention to what was said.

The libretto for The Ring lies at the heart of nineteenth century culture. It is in itself a work of power and grandeur and it had an incalculable effect on European and specifically German culture. John Deathridge's superb new translation, with notes and a fascinating introduction, is essential for anyone who wishes to get to grips with one of the great musical experiences.

816 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 1853

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Richard Wagner

823 books1 follower
Librarian note:
There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name
This profile may contain books from multiple authors of this name

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
428 (48%)
4 stars
306 (34%)
3 stars
122 (13%)
2 stars
24 (2%)
1 star
3 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 90 reviews
Profile Image for Leonard Gaya.
Author 1 book859 followers
January 11, 2023
A hundred years before Tolkien, Richard Wagner was (and in a way still is) the undisputed “Lord of the Rings”. Long before The Hobbit, but indeed sometime after Jacob Grimm, Wagner went on to dust and shake up the medieval poems of Scandinavia and Germany: the Poetic Edda, Snorri’s Edda, the Völsunga saga, the Þiðreks saga, the Nibelungenlied… On top of this Nordic / Germanic revival, he added some Aeschylusian dramatic structure, a dash of Shakespearean oomph, and a generous drizzle of Schopenhauerian aesthetics.

The result is undoubtedly the single most massive drama in the history of Western music. It is also a ghastly take on human nature, full of sexual frenzy, ambition, deception, hypocrisy, obsession, incest, violence, murder and destruction. Love is supposed to redeem everything at the eleventh hour, but that’s more like wishful thinking than anything real: ultimately, the whole work is a tragedy of universal proportions.

The Ring is meant to be a music-poetic-dramatic synthesis. Still, the libretto alone, published in this bilingual edition, alongside John Deathridge’s English translation, is a fascinating read in and of itself. In sync with his source material, Wagner uses archaic words and turns of phrases whenever possible, giving his poem a sort of mythic patina. Although intended as expressive and wild, some parts of the text sound silly nonetheless. Notably, all the different forms of yodelling left, right, and centre: Heiajaheia (the Rheintöchter), Hehe! Hehe! (Alberich), Ohe! Ohe! (Mime), Heda! Hedo! (Donner), Hojotoho! Heiaha! (the Valkyries), Hoho! Hahei! (Siegfried), Hoihohoho! (Hagen), so on and so forth. Added to this, the plot, more than once bogged down with lengthy expositions and recaps – probably to assist (or increase) the absent-mindedness or drowsiness of the audience… Worth noting as well: the stage instructions Wagner committed to paper with freakish fastidiousness.

There would also be much to say about the characters (much more than this short note could ever encompass). Let’s just say that, while the last scene of Die Walküre, with Wotan and Brünnhilde, is one of the highest summits of the whole Ring (and of the entire musical repertoire), the transition to the beginning of Siegfried is rather steep, and not in a good way. Indeed, Siegfried himself, the hero, the chosen one, and possibly the central figure of the cycle, comes across as an insufferable baboon and stays that way until the end. In fact, by the conclusion of Götterdämmerung, there is a secret yet clear feeling of relief underneath the general expression of outrage, when evil Hagen drives his spear in-between Siegfried’s shoulder blades, and purges the stage of this Aryan nincompoop!

In any case, Wagner was not as good a poet and playwright as he was a composer. Some of his musical inventions were to some extent borrowed from his German forebears: compare, for instance, the stripped-down overture of Das Rheingold with the first few bars of Beethoven’s 9th. But as far as operas go, Wagner kicked all the structural rules of aria vs recitative vs ensembles vs choruses. Instead, he introduced his famous leitmotiv device, a series of melodic themes expanding or bending the meaning of the text – a technique now widely in use in Hollywood film scores – see, for instance, John Williams or Hans Zimmer.

Most of all, Wagner managed to elevate the orchestration to an incredible level of richness and expression, contrasting the chatoyant smoothness of the Rhine music with the sweeping storm of the Valkyries, the guttural earthiness of Hagen’s call to battle, the blazing heartbreak of Wotan’s farewell, and the shimmering velvet of Siegmund and Sieglinde’s midnight blooming passion – nearly as magnificent as the almost unbearably sublime encounter in act 2 of Tristan und Isolde. In short, the music alone hits you in the gut like an infection. And when Nietzsche asked, “Is Wagner a human being at all? Is he not rather a disease?” (The Case of Wagner), Stravinsky aptly replied that Wagner’s music was indeed a headache, “but a headache with aspirin.”

Last note: I have personally been lucky enough to attend three live performances of the Ring over the years, namely: Haenchen / Audi (Amsterdam, 1997), Mehta / La Fura dels Baus (Valencia, 2009), and Jordan / Krämer (Paris Bastille, 2013). Each had its specific flavour, and all were unforgettable. I would also highly recommend the Jahrhundertring’s DVD recording (Boulez / Chéreau, Bayreuth, 1976), possibly one of the best. More recently, though, I have seen The Valkyrie, the first instalment of yet another full Ring, currently in production by the English National Opera in New York and London. This performance is based on John Deathridge’s translation into English (available in this bilingual Penguin edition). The old Richard is now probably rolling in his grave, but Deathridge’s translation fits the prosody of the original poem almost to a T and works wonderfully with Wagner’s orchestration. In short, Brünnhilde lives on every which way. Hojotoho, indeed!

In case you are interested, I also wrote a separate note on Die Walküre.

Edit: I recently watched the latest Ring cycle performance (available on ARTE, early 2023) at the Staatsoper Berlin. The orchestra, conducted by Christian Thielemann (replacing Daniel Barenboim), is lively and muscular, as it should be, and the singers are stunning for the most part—Rolando Villazón, as Loge, plays convincingly, but his voice is a bit wheezy; Mika Kares as Fasolt/Hunding/Hagen is terrific and terrifying. But the most surprising aspect of this Ring is probably Dmitri Tcherniakov's unconventional, anti-poetic, stage design and direction: everything is set as a contemporary family saga with a sort of corporate mafia vibe that is both unexpected, refreshing, and often quite dramatic.
Profile Image for Lee Klein .
799 reviews852 followers
December 16, 2021
Loved this particular hardcover bilingual edition from Penguin Classics. It's so solid and plump and yet its 729 pages flew by in part because all pages on the left are in German and those on the right are in a masterful translation of Wagner's libretto or whatever it's called, quick flowing dialogue among gods, heroes, dwarfs, even a dragon. In my previous total ignorance I always thought of Wagner as a naughty anti-Semite Nazi precursor, a composer who anticipated the 1930s in the 19th century and provided the soundtrack for future atrocity, not to mention that unforgettable helicopter scene in Apocalypse Now, where I first heard any of this. The Ring Cycle, being that it's four operas in German, has always been a little much for me to handle. Only recently have I been familiarizing myself with the music, exploring the offerings on Spotify, the complete deal and the orchestral excerpts (ie, the bits without German dialogue and singing), as well as for example a cool piano rendition of the Ring's hits. Generally my expectation for this book was that it would be kinda dull and inaccessible. I definitely bought it thinking there was a good chance I wouldn't complete it. But once I started I was surprised how easy it is to read, how charming, how amusing, how weird and bawdy and cool, incestuous bits early on notwithstanding. As someone who read the Tolkien books in seventh grade and really really loved them, the first books I spent weekend afternoons with instead of playing or watching sports etc, it's incredible to see Tolkien's sources appear, a powerful ring, a helmet that lets you be invisible, riddles, a dragon, even toward the end the phrase "lord of the ring" appears. Also the structure: this is a trilogy and a preliminary evening, same as the LOTR trilogy with its prequel The Hobbit. Tolkien said something like "both rings are round and there the resemblance ends" but it's clear this was some serious source material. Beyond LOTR, the first three parts really satisfy, with sections of the Valkyries seeming to me as good as reading gets. The final section, The Twilight of the Gods, seems kinda off the rails compared to the first three sections but it was apparently written first -- it's comparatively muddled and doesn't seem to make the same sort of mythopoeic sense as the first three sections. But the crazy, power-grabbing, fiery end doesn't detract from the sense of it being like this 19th century version of Marvel superhero movies, reconstruction of the old myths to obliquely comment on contemporary times and presage perhaps the future. I read this an act or two every night and did so as an entertainment. I read it pretty superficially although you see all those Joseph Campbellian themes emerge and I look forward to reading some commentaries on this and searching for Wagner's sources among the sagas of yore.
Profile Image for Edith Romero.
170 reviews25 followers
June 18, 2020
Sublime opera de Wagner, gran exponen y compositor alemán. Esta obra está compuesta por una tetralogia cuyas partes son: El oro del Rhin, La walkyria, Sigfrido y El crepúsculo de los dioses. Las cuatro obras comprenden un total de 15 horas de música. Lo fantástico e ideal sería escuchar la música mientras se lee. Quisiera decir que escuché toda la composición musical, pero solo fueron unas horas.

Wagner ha basado su obra en la mitología Noruega y Alemana, creando así su propio universo mitológico imaginario. Durante el trayecto de la historia, pude percatarme de que existen similitudes con El señor de los anillos, por lo que Tolkien se ha inspirado en esta obra.
Profile Image for Robert Sheppard.
Author 2 books84 followers
September 21, 2013



J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" is one of the most beloved fantasy epics of modern World Literature, celebrated in the film adaptaion of Peter Jackson, read and re-read by devotees from childhood to old age, bringing to life through its magic not only the creation of the epic imagined world of "Middle Earth" inhabited by such immortal characters as Gandalf, Frodo, Bilbo, Sauron and Aragorn, but also a complete alternative history and spiritual cosmology of the universe. I enjoyed reading all of Tolkien's works immensely as well as re-experiencing them in film, and have always felt in the presence of greatness with his works. But that grand creation was not made from the whole cloth of Tolkien's pure imagination alone but rather built upon a great tradition derived from World Literature, most notably drawing upon the "Ring of the Nibelungen" (Der Ring des Nibelungen)or Ring Cycle operas of Richard Wagner, as well as the many forerunners Tolkien himself studied and taught ss a Professor of Anglo-Saxon literature at Oxford, such as the Norse and early Germanic "Prose Edda," the "Volsunga Saga" and the "Nibelungenlied."

Noticing the many similarities and shared motifs between Wagner's Ring Cycle operas and Tolkien's epic, some harping critics even went so far as to claim that Tolkien had plagiarized much of his creation from Wagner. This unfair accusation ignores the reality that all great writers build upon a "Great Tradition" as referred to by T.S. Eliot which is bequeathed with generosity to them to freely utilize and adapt as the common heritage of mankind freely invested in its own future development. Horace in his "Ars Poetica" (Art of Poetry) boasted that he often "stole" working materials from the classics, qualified by his mitigating insistence on exercising the good taste to "steal only from the best."

Indeed, great writers not only have great license to take from the Great Tradition in order to extend and strengthen it, but also find common roots in the myths and archetypes of the "Collective Unconscious" identified by the celebrated psychologist C.G. Jung also as the common spiritual capital of humanity. Thus Vergil's "Aeneid" drew heavily upon Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, the great plays and tragedies of Sophocles, Aeschylus and Euripides drew freely upon such sagas and mythic lore as Oedipus and the Greek Gods, and the Chinese epic "Journey to the West" of the Monkey-King drew on the similar figure of Hanuman from the Indian classic "The Ramayana" of Valmiki. Indeed the Bible itself, a most plundered source of borrowings, counsels us to judge value by the fruits of the borrowing rather than by mere roots and fertilizing: "By their fruits you will know them." Matthew 7:16.

Tolkien himself, questioned on the similarity, said "The two Rings have in common that they are both round, and beyond that they are completely different." In this he was being a bit rhetorically disingenuous, as the common elements in both great works are more fundamental than superficial. First, the central quest and plot device of a struggle over a Ring of Power, capable of conferring on its bearer mastery of the world, but also bearing a curse of corruption and self-destruction necessitating its removal from the world gives to both works a common central dynamic. Tolkien, who once undertook a common project with C.S. Lewis, author of the Narnia Saga, to translate Wagner's Ring Cycle together, was intimately aware of Wagner's narrative, along with the sources from which Wagner himself borrowed, such as the Nibelungenlied and the Norse Volsunga Saga.

Secondly, from Wagner Tolkien also took as models or sources of inspiration several other key elements of the Hobbit cycle, including outlines of some of of the key characters. In Wagner's Nibelungen Ring perhaps the most central character is a dwarf who initially possesses the Ring of Power, Alberich. Alberich initially creates the Ring of Power in the first opera, "The Rhinegold" (Das Rheingold) from enchanted gold stolen from the river-spirit Rhinemaidens, which he is able to do only after renouncing all love, which he does after the beautiful Rhinemaidens spurn his love, berating his ugliness and smallness. Next, the king of the Gods, Wotan/Odin forces Alberich to give the Ring to him, later losing it when he is forced to give it as payment to the giants Fafner and Fasolt for their work in building Valhalla, the palace of the gods. Fafner kills his brother Fasolt over the Ring, and then transforms himself into a dragon to keep watch over it. Thereafter, both the dwarf Alberich and Wotan struggle and plot over decades to recover the lost precious Ring, Alberich exhibiting many of the characteristics of Gollum in Tolkien's saga in his obsession with it. In Wagner as in Tokien the fate of the Ring is also tied to a looming Apocalypse as its destruction will also usher in a New Age on earth and the departure of the gods or other celestial agents such as the elves or Valkyrie. Both works are populated by an analogous heirarchy of beings or races: the Gods, men, dwarves and Valkyrie Riders in Wagner, and elves, men, dwarves, ents, orcs and malign personages such as Sauron and the Nazgul Riders in Tolkien. In Wagner as in Tokien diverse parties plot to get possession of the Ring, such as Alberich's brother the dwarf Mime, who raises Sigfried, the product of the incestuous union of Siegmund and Sieglinde in the second opera "The Valkyie," Wotan's grandchild, who will have the power to recover the Ring. Siegfried, like Aragorn, must search for his ancestry and repair the broken sword of his forefathers, Nothing, to complete his quest. In both sagas an immortal female being is transformed into a mortal who will die alongside her lover, namely Arwen who choses mortal life and marriage to Aragorn, and Brunhilde, the lover of Siegfried. Both sagas end with the destruction of the Ring, which in turn ushers a New Age and the departure of the gods or spirits of the old order.


Both the "Lord of the Rings" and the "Ring of the Nibelungen" constitute "epics" in their scope and impact. An "epic" as a genre may be defined as a narrative in verse, prose or other form which includes extensive history such as to define the character or destiny of a nation, people even humanity as a whole. Tolkien's classic famously extends for several thousand years, from the "First Age" to the "Fourth Age" which commences at its conclusion, covers at least three generatiions of its protagonists and defines the formation or reconstituion of a nation, the united Kingdom under Aragorn, and its relationship with "the divine" or supernatural powers--elves, Valar, and evil forces such as Sauron and Morgoth, and with the natural environment. Wagner's saga also spans three generations from Wotan to Siegmund and Sieglinde and the grandchild Siegfried and embraces a backstory of cosmic proportions, including the famous "Gotterdammerung" (Ragnarok) or fall of the Norse gods led by Odin/Wotan and the burning of Valhalla and Iggdrasil, the Tree of Life and the World. Their sagas concern not only their protagonists or even their peoples, but the entire condition of the world and the conditions of its physical and spiritual continuation, regeneration and renewal. (Parenthetically, I also include my own work, the contemporary and futurist epic "Spiritus Mundi" in the epic genre as it spans in its backstory the history of the Sartorius family from the 1600's to the present and, through time travel, the history of the human race into the 23rd Century in the wake of the founding of the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly in our own time, and defines the character of the emerging "people of the world" newly and necessarily united in our globalized age, including their relationship with the cosmos and the divine.)


Archetypes, according to C.G. Jung and others are universal archaic patterns and images that derive from the collective unconscious and are the psychic counterpart of instinct. They are autonomous and hidden forms which are transformed once they enter consciousness and are given particular expression by individuals and their cultures but exist independently of them as part of our genetic and instinctual heritage. Common examples in literature are the archetypal figures of the Mother, Trickster, Magician, Warrior, King and Devil, or situational archetypes such as the Quest, the Flood, the Fall, Re-birth and Transformation or Apocalypse. Importantly, an archetype is not just a symbol or image in the abstract, but rather a concrete living force within the mind, sometimes referred to as a "complex," which acts as a source of energy or intensity around the archetypal nucleus and which may drain or augment energy from or to the Ego, and which may exist in either the personal unconscious of an individual, the collective unconscious of the whole human race, or both. The operation and experience of the archetypes, both in their narrative or symbolic form and within the psyche of the protagonist or the reader serve to catalyze psychic growth leading to greater awareness and greater psychic wholleness, maturity and health, and a resultant enhanced capacity for life in the world.


One of the central archetypes in C.G. Jung and other archetypal critics such as Joseph Campbell in his "Hero With a Thousand Faces" is that of the hero's quest. In this archetype, the hero is required to undertake a perilous journey into an unknnown and dangerous realm to accomplish some task of vital importance during which he will be tested and if successful will bring back some vital boon to the world of his origin. The stages of the hero's journey typically include:

1)Separation and Departure---expulsion from a safe haven, home or childhood

2) Initiation

3) Struggle Against Adverse Forces

4) Descent into the Underworld---confronting not only external dangers but his own deepest inner self

5) Return and Re-Integration---a return from the mythic dimension to rejoin the mundane world of his origin

In Tolkien's Lord of the Rings the central hero Frodo undertakes the Quest of the "Ring Bearer" to destroy the Ring of Power in the fires of Mount Doom, which unites him with his brother questers of the "Fellowship of the Ring" who accompany him. In the first stage of Departure the Black Horsemen forcibly expel him from the safe haven of the Shire, a world of innocence, protected child-like existence, harmony and oneness with nature. At Rivendell he is initiated into a larger community of his fellow Questors, who must struggle against a Nemesis, the predatory Sauron and his evil allies and underlings. His journey to both the Mines of Moria and to the evil realm of Mordor challenges not only his physical and external survival and strength but also his inner resolve and willingness to rise to the duty of the quest. In the final chapters after the Ring's destruction, especially the chapter "The Scouring of the Shire," Frodo and his companions must return to the world of his origins bearing the strengths obtained by means of the Quest. Thus Frodo on his return, along with Merry, Pippin and Sam are no longer the passive child-like beings of their innocent youth and their world is no longer an Edenic paradise, but they must confront its evils with adult and active powers derived from their growth during the Quest. They undertake to reform their fallen homeland, driving out the petty fascism of the exploitative capitalist and predatory classes backed by the fallen Saruman/Sharkey and restore their community to freedom, justice and harmony with nature.

In Wagner's Ring Cycle there is little growth of self and insight in the Jungian sense on the part of the hero Siegfried. His quest is defined as "to discover what fear is" in a supposedly fearless heroic self. However Siegfried fails to discover this fear or any measure of inner insight and is led to destruction. It is more the character of Wotan who attains some measure of insight in his unsuccessful quest for the Ring, leading ultimately to his acceptance of his fate of death and downfall of the gods.


In the Lord of the Rings trilogy Frodo's steps are incessently dogged by a creature who uncannily manages to follow his every movement, almost as if he were his own shadow: Gollum. In Jung's concept of the archetype of "The Shadow" such a figure often represents the negative unconscious dimensions of the Self which have been repressed and remain unintegrated within the psyche. Frodo to our eyes and his own appears to be an exemplary character full of idealism, selflessness, courage and love for others. But this benign view ignores what we suspect lies in all human hearts, the capacity for selfishness, love of power, possession and self-importance which are suspiciously absent from his apparant conscious self. Thus until Frodo confronts his own capacity for selfishness and potential evil and tames and overcomes it his steps will be dogged by a demonized being who represents these negative capacities: Gollum. Gollum is craven, selfish, violent and obsessed with his own possession of the Ring and its power. He follows Frodo as closely as Frodo's own shadow, and indeeds comes to represent an alter ego, or a Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde "Doppelganger" repressed other self.

Notably, in terms of Frodo himself alone, he finally fails in his Quest as at the critical moment within Mr. Doom he refuses to throw the Ring into the feiry abyss. In a sense he never really recognized that selfish capacity within himself until too late. It is only by the "accident" of Gollum biting off his finger with the Ring on it and slipping into the fire that the Quest is accomplishd, along with the loyal aid of Frodo's more quotidian alter ego, Sam. Thus Frodo as a discrete conscious self balks and fails in the quest, but his extended "composite self" symbolically evolved through growth, experience and and amalgamating his alter egos Gollum and Sam jointly accomplish the Quest almost in spite of Frodo's conscious self, and it is only the fully integrated "greater self" that is capable of fulfilling its mission and promise. The quest is thus ironically accomplished "by accident," but this uncanny accident proves to be no mere accident at all, but the fulfillment of deeper psychic laws and destinies.


Jung conceived "The Anima" as the feminine complementary self present in the male psyche that often inspires love and becomes the face of love leading to a man's growth towards wholeness. The anima may also bear a negative shape where this complementary relationship is perverted or obstructed. In the female psyche of a woman, the male complementary "other half" of the conscious self most often takes some masculine shape and face, termed by Jung her "Animus," the masculine counterpart to the feminine Anima. In the Lord of the Rings a powerful "Anima" figure is that of the beautiful elfen queen Galadriel. Notably, Galadriel posseses a magic mirror into which each person looks and sees some aspect of themselves and their destiny. Thus confrontation of the Anima forces the self to a deeper consideration of the male self, revealing hidden or repressed mysteries. For example, the presence of Galadriel leads Gimli the dwarf to realize that possession of wealth and riches, his prior obsession, was less valuable than love and beauty. Another powerful anima figure is that of Arwen, the elven princess and daughter of Elron who is the eternal guide of the heart for Aragorn on his quest. Notably she represents the immortality of the spirit which through love chooses to live and die alongside her beloved mortal man and mate, an idealized feminine virtue.


Our connection with the narrative of The Lord of the Rings is through the experience of the Hobbits, diminutive human beings who are admirable and lovable, but seemingly immature, partially child-like, passive and little capable of survival in the more dangerous greater world outside the Edenic Shire. Their tale is one of growth to a greater maturity through encounters with such archetypal male figures of Aragorn, first a Warrior and then a King, Gandalf the Wizard-Magician and the array of supporting warriors and allies who lead them to greater powers and maturity in the face of a hostile world. The Warrior archetype is a destroyer of enemies and bears strength and power. Thus the Hobbits grow from child-like impotence to masculine maturity and power as they are initiated into the fellowship of warriors. Gandalf, as a representative of the Magician Archetype further enhances the power of the warrior with the ability to channel the supernatural and hidden magical powers of nature and the universe for human ends. He is a teacher who empowers others as well as wielding superhuman powers derived from the deepest understanding of the world's secrets. In Aragorn is manifest the figure of the King, a more mature reincarnation of the warrior's power, to which is added responsibility, love of people and a "healing power" capable of harmonizing the human community with the cosmic order and nature.


My own work, the contemporary and futurist epic novel Spiritus Mundi also shares the Jungian archetypal heritage of the two Ring Cycles. Its primary moving force and plot device is the Quest of social idealists in our time to establish a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly for global democracy. In the course of this quest they encounter inimical forces that threaten World War III and nuclear Armageddon and are forced into a mythical journey to an Underworld of Middle-Earth, a Jules Verne-like journey to the center of the Earth, plus a celestial ascencion to the Council of the Immortals, analagous to the angelic-elven beings of the Ring saga, and a quest to recover the Silmaril Crystal to save the world. Its material draws heavily on the Great Tradition including the Iliad, Odyssey, Aeneid, Dante and the work of such modern immortal greats as Verne, Wells, Tolkien and Wagner.

World Literature Forum invites you to check out the great fantasy epics of Tolkien and Wagner, and also the contemporary epic novel Spiritus Mundi, by Robert Sheppard. For a fuller discussion of the concept of World Literature you are invited to look into the extended discussion in the new book Spiritus Mundi, by Robert Sheppard, one of the principal themes of which is the emergence and evolution of World Literature:

For Discussions on World Literature and n Literary Criticism in Spiritus Mundi: http://worldliteratureandliterarycrit...

Robert Sheppard

World Literature Forum
Author, Spiritus Mundi Novel
Author’s Blog: http://robertalexandersheppard.wordpr...
Spiritus Mundi on Goodreads:
Spiritus Mundi on Amazon, Book I: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CIGJFGO
Spiritus Mundi, Book II: The Romance http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CGM8BZG

Copyright Robert Sheppard 2013 All Rights Reserved

Profile Image for Jose.
347 reviews70 followers
April 22, 2023
Me llama mucho la atención la mitología nórdica, así que no pude resistir la tentación de adquirir la fantástica edición de Penguin Classics, que al tener los textos en inglés y en alemán, me ha hecho disfrutar mucho más de su lectura mientras escuchaba algunos fragmentos.

Todo comienza cuando Alberich, un nibelungo, se hace con el oro del Rin y ordena forjar un anillo, que otorga un poder inmenso a quien lo lleva (¿a qué me suena esto?); y un yelmo para volverse invisible o trasformarse en lo que se desee. Por otra parte, Wotan encarga a los gigantes la construcción del Valhalla, y a cambio, promete entregarles a Freia, la guardiana de las manzanas doradas de la eterna juventud. Sin embargo, al comprender que envejecerán si se alejan de ella, deberán conseguir el tesoro para ofrecerlo como pago.

Una historia apasionante sobre la que Wagner trabajó durante casi 30 años. Imprescindible para los aficionados a la ópera o a la mitología.
Profile Image for Marcos Augusto.
724 reviews4 followers
May 1, 2022
The greatest artistic achievement of the 19th century.

Der Ring des Nibelungen, four music dramas by German composer Richard Wagner, all with German librettos by the composer himself. The operas are Das Rheingold (“The Rhine Gold”), Die Walküre (“The Valkyrie”), Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung (“The Twilight of the Gods”), first performed in sequence at the Festspielhaus in Bayreuth, Bavaria, Germany, on August 13, 14, 16, and 17, 1876. Collectively they are often referred to as the Ring cycle.

In Das Rheingold, the magical Rhinemaidens possess a horde of gold, which is stolen from them by the dwarflike Nibelung Alberich; having been unlucky in love, he renounces it altogether and determines that he will make do with wealth. The Rhinemaidens lament the loss of their horde.

Meanwhile, the gods await completion of their new palace, Valhalla, which is being built for them by the giants Fafner and Fasolt. As payment for the palace, Wotan had promised to hand over to the giants Freia, goddess of youth and beauty. Upon the urging of his wife, Fricka, and the other gods, however, Wotan decides instead to offer the giants a different payment: a magic ring of power that Alberich has fashioned from the Rhinemaidens’ gold. Wotan is joined by the fire god Loge, and they set off to seize the ring.

Alberich has enslaved the other Nibelungs, forcing them to dig for more gold. One of the objects that has been fashioned from this gold is the Tarnhelm, a helmet that makes its wearer invisible. Wotan and Loge arrive. They trick Alberich into demonstrating his magical ability to turn himself into any creature; when, at their request, he transforms into a small toad, they seize and imprison him. The price of his freedom is his gold. Alberich orders his slaves to bring up all the gold. Wotan takes the gold and seizes the Ring. Alberich places a curse upon the Ring. Loge, meanwhile, steals the Tarnhelm.

In Die Walküre, Wotan had fathered twin children with a mortal woman, a male (called Siegmund) and a female (called Sieglinde). Separated early, the twins are now young adults. Siegmund, who has helped a woman being forced into marriage, is fleeing enemies and traveling under the assumed name Wehwalt (meaning “woeful”). In the course of his flight, he loses his weapons. Sieglinde is living with her husband, Hunding, in a forest cabin.

In Siegfried, some years have passed since the scenes that close Die Walküre. Sieglinde had died after giving birth to a son she named Siegfried, who was raised by the Nibelung Mime. Siegfried has grown to be a strong and bold young man who is disdainful of his foster father.

In Götterdämmerung prologue, the three Norns (Fates) relate tales of Wotan’s past adventures and of the pending consumption of Valhalla and the gods by fire. Siegfried and Brünnhilde appear, pledging their love. He departs to pursue heroic deeds along the Rhine, borrowing Brünnhilde’s horse, Grane, and leaving Brünnhilde the Ring for protection.

Wagner had long been interested in early Norse and German heroic poetry, including the medieval German epic Nibelungenlied (“Song of the Nibelung”), when he sketched out a prose version of the Nibelung myth in 1848. His first libretto to use that version was called Siegfrieds Tod (“The Death of Siegfried”), which became the basis of Götterdämmerung. He began composing the music in 1850, but he soon realized that he could not tell of Siegfried’s death without first telling of his life. In 1851 he wrote the libretto for Der junge Siegfried (“The Young Siegfried”; later shortened to Siegfried). Continuing back toward the beginning of the story, he finished the librettos for Die Walküre and Das Rheingold, respectively, in 1852. After completing the massive text, he composed the operas in the order of the story. The first two were composed by 1856, and then Wagner took a long break to complete Tristan und Isolde and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg before completing Siegfried in 1871 and Götterdämmerung in 1874—26 years after he started work on the project.
Profile Image for Vicky Hunt.
823 reviews52 followers
February 14, 2022
Following Wagner's Libretto in German and English Copy

The grand elegance of The Ring of the Nibelung speaks for itself. It is a fascinating work of artistry that, combined with the music has awed audiences for generations. But this new translation by John Deathridge brings Wagner's libretto into a sturdy hardbound edition that will help the English reader understand performances of the German opera on stage.

The text of the libretto is German and English on facing pages throughout, with English summaries of each act at the beginning of each part. I've only seen live recordings from the Dutch National Opera in Holland, with English subtitles. Having this copy is certainly a more unified approach to the story than piecemeal translation.

Whether following the playful opening scene in the Rhine, or the majestic ride of the Walküre/ Valkyrie; it is sure to be an experience to appreciate more fully with the printed Libretto. Now that I've read it in English, I want to see the New York Met performance of the whole Cycle. I really enjoyed the Dutch stage work. I can't imagine a more beautiful performance.
443 reviews5 followers
October 10, 2018
Excellent translation, incredible work. Not meant to be read along...read it while watching it!

Profile Image for Matias Cerizola.
402 reviews19 followers
February 6, 2021
El Anillo Del Nibelungo.- Richard Wagner⁣

"Mí dormir es soñar,⁣

 mí soñar meditar,⁣

 y mi pensar domina el saber.⁣

 Mientras duermo velan las parcas.⁣

 Ellas tejen la cuerda⁣

 e hilan cuidadosamente cuánto sé."⁣

El enano nibelungo Alberich roba el oro custodiado por las hijas del Rin, luego de ser despreciado y puesto en ridículo por las ondinas. A sabiendas de la maldición y el poder que confiere el oro del Rin, el nibelungo forja el anillo de poder. Anillo que va a ser codiciado por distintas generaciones de héroes, criaturas y hasta por los dioses mismos.⁣

El ciclo El Anillo Del Nibelungo está formado por una tetralogía de óperas con letra y música de Richard Wagner (1813-1883): El Oro Del Rin, La Valquiria, Sigfrido y El Ocaso De Los Dioses; el ciclo en total tiene una duración de entre 14 a 15 horas, distribuidas en 4 jornadas. La magnitud del ciclo es tal, que Wagner promovió la construcción de un teatro especial para su representación, el  Bayreuther Festspielhaus, en la ciudad de Bayreuth. ⁣

En esta hermosa edición de la editorial Biblok vamos a encontrar el libreto íntegro de las cuatro óperas en su traducción al español (no incluye el alemán original) y hermosas ilustraciones del artista clásico Arthur Rackham.⁣

Muy recomendable no solo para los amantes de la ópera, al estar basada en leyendas europeas es una historia que pueden disfrutar los entusiastas de la fantasía también (hasta dragones hay en la historia). ⁣

Profile Image for Eric Hinkle.
754 reviews39 followers
October 29, 2022
I enjoyed some of it and would like to see the opera performed, but come on. Some of these scenes have the subtlety and grace of Power Rangers, not to mention the cheesiness. So many of the lines consists of variations of "Ugh" or "Aeeeeiiiiiiya!" that I can't help but wonder if the Germans' supposedly sacred view of this work is a joke. It apparently represented the German character and German worth, and was written for and praised by the Kaiser. I find it rather more of an embarrassment.

Still though, some of it is quite readable, even nice. It could've easily been half as long, though, instead of sprawling over three days of performances.
Profile Image for Nikolaos Papadakis.
47 reviews4 followers
September 25, 2022
Very nice adaptation of the norse myth from Wagner. It is a pity that the nazis spoilt the composer's fame being their favourite artist.
Profile Image for Dan Graser.
Author 4 books102 followers
October 23, 2020
Though Wagner's Ring cycle is a personal favorite piece of music, the idea of reading the libretto in its entirety was one I was not looking forward to, as frequently when listening and watching the drama unfold this very text has seemed uneven and at times quite clumsy. It is true that Wagner was not the most elegant of dramatic or prose stylists, however the amalgamation of folk and mythic elements that are woven together in this tale have always interested me almost as much as the music itself. I have delved into the original German several times and mostly found it quite satisfying but there have not been English versions available that ever provided a remotely similar effect, especially to the most dramatic and narratively significant moments, that is, until now.

Thankfully, far better than any quick translation in program notes or on opera broadcasts, John Deathridge's translation lends itself to extended reading and very enjoyable comprehension of this sprawling narrative. The language is precise and at the same time encompasses the grandeur of the work, it brings out the pathos and the largesse in equal portions and more-so than any previous attempt, allows the interested reader to experience the wonder of Wagner's tale from a purely literary/dramatic point of view. Yes, being an instrumentalist myself, Wagner's orchestral writing and orchestration throughout the cycle are the key elements for me, however I'm happy to say that this beautiful Penguin clothbound edition of this exciting translation has granted new appreciation for the literary and dramatic elements of the work. If you're going to have a copy of the libretto, make it this one.
Profile Image for Aaron.
222 reviews1 follower
August 19, 2020
John Deathridge's new English translation of Wagner's Ring cycle is a curious beast and a difficult one to review. The Ring of the Nïbelung is an opera and primarily exists to be watched and listened to onstage. Reading it as a book dilutes a lot of what Wagner was attempting with the epic composition, so I will focus only on the plot. Spanning four main acts, the opera covers 'The Rhinegold', 'The Valkyrie', 'Siegfried', and 'Twilight of the Gods.' A priceless treasure of the Rhine is snatched by the dwarf Alberich after his lecherous advances are rejected by the Rhinemaidens. With the stolen gold, he fashions a ring that will allow him to control the world. Wotan, Father of the Gods, then uses cunning to steal the ring as payment for the giants who built him Valhalla. Overwhelmed by rage and longing, Alberich curses the bearer of the ring, setting in motion a chain of vengeance, scheming, and betrayal amongst gods, monsters and heroes.

The epic narrative borrows heavily from Norse mythology, dealing with the rise and fall of the hero Siegfriend, a mortal born without knowledge of fear. His deeds involve thwarting the machinations of his dwarven guardian, slaying the giant-turned-dragon Fafnir, claiming the ring for himself, and traversing a wall of fire to win the Valkyrie Brunnhilde as his wife. In typical epic fashion, his heroic doings are used to instigate his fall from grace. The mythic overtures of the story are entertaining enough to read, but the enjoyment of the text is undoubtedly marred by the nature of the source matieral. Expect long passages of nothing but "Wallala weiala weia!" and "Hojotoho! Heiaha heiaha!" which seem to fill the bulk of the 750 pages. The German text runs alongside the English translation, so those versed in Wagner's mothertongue can compare and contrast the fidelty of Deathridge's work. Recommended to lovers or Norse mythology, fans of Tolkein, or anyone curious enough to read an opera.
Profile Image for Davide Nole.
173 reviews47 followers
December 18, 2015
Prima opera della tetralogia. E' la prima volta che leggo i testi senza guardare l'opera vera e propria, e devo dire che è assolutamente appagante.
L'oro del Reno marca l'inizio del declino degli dei in un mondo in cui gli uomini non sono ancora contemplati. Al centro ci sono le classiche tematiche del tradimento tra fratelli, declinate in tre modi diversi da Wagner. Questo amplifica il tema dell'unione per uno scopo comune, che viene portata avanti in tutto il ciclo , sebbene con diverse tipologie di personaggio al centro.
Una lettura sicuramente consigliata, anche per chi crede fermamente nell'efferato nazismo del povero Richard.
Profile Image for Javier.
236 reviews41 followers
April 10, 2017
This is a pretty fascinating epic. Unfortunately, at its base it is anti-Semitic, Aryanist, and proto-Nazi. As symbolized by the hero Siegfried, The Ring is all about the "liberation" of the Aryan nation from the State, religion, capitalism, and "the Jews." In this way, the story is pretty "national anarchist" or "national socialist." The tragic conclusion, Gotterdammerung, was added by Wagner after the fact (Siegfried ends on a utopian note): it depicts a half-Jew killing Siegfried by stabbing him in the back, and the destruction of Valhalla and the gods.
Profile Image for Steve.
721 reviews12 followers
March 29, 2019
As I embark on the Met's Ring Cycle for the 3rd time, I thought reading this translation would help me avoid dividing my attention between subtitles and performance and allow me to just bask in the glory of the art, music, spectacle. So far so good. This is a great resource for Ring lovers, and reads much better than the subtitles in the opera house.
Profile Image for Janice.
185 reviews18 followers
July 2, 2019
This is part of a series on the Wagner Ring Cycle’s individual operas. A great place to start on understanding this wonderful operatic series. The first in the series has a very good biography of the man who created them.
Profile Image for Raúl.
Author 11 books28 followers
January 14, 2019
Muy libre elaboración de motivos de la literatura nórdica, en la fascinante ópera, y fascinante libreto, de El anillo del Nibelungo, por Richard Wagner.
Profile Image for Levi.
33 reviews
July 20, 2019
Overall, I would classify this story a tragedy. As with the Greek tragedies, a moral is learned through much suffering. Thus, I think this libretto serves its purpose extremely well—especially for having been translated. We, readers/listeners/audience members, are given an ample number of Wagner’s literary leitmotifs, one of the most crucial being the price of greed.

While hinted at in the introduction and foreword, it teems throughout the lines Wagner wrote. And as a quick side note: The introduction and foreword were enjoyable. I had reservations about Wagner, given how the Nazis had lauded and appropriated his work, especially the Ring cycle. However, the foreword had made some compelling points on the irony behind the Nazis’ adoption of motifs from the story. Overall, both intro and foreword were interesting, informative, and provided a nice foundation for which the libretto could be read.

I greatly enjoyed the story, blemishes and all. I couldn’t help be reminded of many popular culture references that have sprung from this material (and/or related mythologies): dragons and giants, Germanic versions of Odin and Thor, and an epic adventure involving a manipulative ring that grants its wearer absolute power, but is ultimately destroyed by engulfing flames...sound similar? *cough* LoTR. I look forward to comparing the enduring music with the story.

However, it does have a few aspects—some more fundamental, other superficial—I did not very much care for. For instance, I did not entirely care for the melodrama. It just seems over-the-top (which is the point). I know it’s an opera, which is bound to be excessive at points, so my critique is moot/minor. Furthermore, I did not care for the dated gender roles—women subservient to men—Valkyries are badass, but the damsel in distress trope is annoying. This may simply be a product of its time; nevertheless, it’s somewhat frustrating if read with a modern lens. Also, the elephant in the room needs to be addressed: I feel the same about the rampant incest in the story as I do about it in Game of Thrones...unnecessary and weird.

Profile Image for Milo.
188 reviews2 followers
June 11, 2021
It is almost disappointing that this libretto should work so effectively in terms of literature; I should think the ideal music drama would, removed from its music, seem in some way lax or incomplete. The Ring of the Nibelung – which, in unusual fashion, existed as literature for several decades before meeting the music it was written for – instead serves in itself as a pseudo-mythological pattern upon which anxieties of the 19th century might be writ large. The anarchic, revolutionary Wagner is here at his most polemic, though all wrapped in the genuine trappings of legend. It does not feel as though Wagner borrows aesthetically from a Nordic-Germanic trope-box in order to make flesh his political intentions, as is a frequent case in analogous writing, but rather than he conjures so many things simultaneously. This is myth, and this is revolution, and this is the human condition; these things are not arranged in a hierarchy, nor do they feed on one another. They are rather coterminous and discrete, all of which contributing to the cathartic whirlwind that so-often represents The Ring. Admittedly when removing the music one does also lose a substantive layer of meaning – these naked verses find much juxtaposition, emphasis, contrast when paired with Wagner’s sonic enormities. The fullhearted complexity and nuance – in what are aesthetic and intellectual terms – cannot be sighted when reading the libretto alone, much in the way most screenplays can only pronounce the skeleton of a great film (whose greatness will often rely so much on that which isn’t – and more importantly cannot be – written down). Though I feel Wagner achieves something of a double-success: his opera-cycle is improved by first reading the libretto, and his libretto is retrospectively improved having heard or seen the operas. This is not some flimsy lyric-sheet to serve as structure for so many ditties, nor is it a logocentric thesis upon which music might be crudely foisted. It is, perhaps favouring the word ever so slightly, a total meeting of the two.
Profile Image for Mike.
1,115 reviews33 followers
April 7, 2022
This is the single most Germanic work of art I’ve ever encountered. Wagner draws from Hegel, Schopenhauer, The Nibelungenlied, The Saga of the Volsungs, The Prose Edda, Goethe, and the Brothers Grimm. The scenery descriptions, written by Wagner, remind one of the art of Caspar David Friedrich. The libretto is steeped in 19th century Romanticism. And the music is...well, Wagnerian! His patron for Das Rheingold was even King Ludwig II.

You just can’t get more German than this.

The first three dramas in the cycle are exciting, adventurous, and philosophical, linking the myths of old to a burgeoning modernist sensibility. The final opera is more understated, with Wagner fully embracing Schopenhauer and returning to the idea of Wotan as tragic hero, as much as Seigfreid. While this provides nice closure and links back to the first two dramas, it does lead to a bit of an anticlimax. Still, the cycle come full circle: the foolishness of the gods, the break from the gods, the independence of the human spirit, the merging of man/woman (and the individuation of the Self), the power of love to both unify and destroy, the death of the hero that leads to a genesis of the human spirit, and the ultimate destruction the gods. It’s grand, epic, and unforgettable. I watched a staged version as I was reading the libretto to get the full impact, but Wagner’s language is so beautiful that this alone should rank him as one of the great 19th century German poets.

This edition translated by Stewart Spencer with the full German text side-by-side and extensive endnotes is essential. The opening essays and photographs of various stagings throughout the years provide excellent context.
Profile Image for Shivani.
196 reviews48 followers
September 24, 2022
Finally!! A 5 star read! This was such a loaded choice for me that I am pretty sure this review is gonna gush out rather than be a cohesive reflection. Frankly, I was skeptical of picking up an opera for my next read. I can't compare it to any other work. Have next to no know-how of opera performances or theater directions. So, my only interest was the story it tells. And I DO NOT EXAGGERATE, when I say that watching the performance of Wagner's Ring Cycle has made my bucket list. Sadly, I can't do it anytime soon. But it's definitely one of my top wishes now. In retrospect, Tolkien might have pushed me on to peruse this masterpiece. Wagner no doubt inspired many artists of his time and the ones who came later. And having read this work, I can't help but see the parallels within Tolkien's Middle Earth. Which, by the way, is titillating to no end. I am in awe of the inspirations that Tolkien seems to have found in Wagner's Ring Cycle (will talk of my speculations in this regard).

Having read The Prose Edda and The Saga of the Volsungs, I could relate to Wagner's loosely-abiding derivations. The Ring Cycle merges the Norse mythology with the Volsung Saga, essentially taking the best of both the worlds. Norse myths and Volsung heroic legends come together in this epic. And it speaks volumes about Wagner's talent that the result is no less intriguing than its origins.

A restless God.
A coveted treasure.
A feared curse.
A forbidden love.
A doomed hero.
A scorned enemy.
An unavoidable fate.

The introduction by John Deathridge (translator), traces the history of the Ring Cycle in brief. It offers a perspective to changes in operatic performances under Wagner's influence, his modifications to the script over time and methods applied to the translation of this much revered German work. This being my first translation, I quite liked the text in its ability to convey the idea faithfully. Not once did I fear the plot details getting lost in translation. The word plays in the German text may not have lent themselves faithfully to the English text. And there might be better translations out there. But I wouldn't hesitate in recommending this one. The Synopses at the beginning gives away the plot in plain English prose. One can use it to prepare for the plot development. But the translation being clear and succinct, one need not go through this spoiler of sorts. I say, jump right into the verses and power this magnum opus with your imagination.

The book offers both the German and the English version of the Ring Cycle, with ample footnotes. One need not know the Norse myths or Volsung Saga in comprehensive detail to understand the plot. Wagner is not entirely faithful to either anyways. He takes the divine element from the Norse pantheon and the mortal element from the heroic legends and mixes them up, albeit harmoniously. A hero with divine roots is manufactured into existence by an ever dissatisfied God for his own greedy purpose. Wagner prepares his readers for tragedy, right from the start. Themes of incest, betrayal, envy and revenge form the under current taking the characters speedily along to their doomed end. And yes, the plot claims many innocent lives in the process. Here are some of my favourites from the translated text,

Those runes of solemn covenant
enshrined in your spear,
are they just playthings to you?

You use splendour to rule,
you're a glitteringly regal race,
how foolish that you strive
after towers of stone,
pledge the loveliness of woman
in exchange for fortress and hall!

To hush up their scandal,
idiots smear me!
Rudeness is always Loge's reward!

a free man must bring himself into being;
slaves are all I can create.

All and sundry are of their kind:
nothing you do can change it.

And now I want to wax enthusiastically on the parallels with the Tolkien world. The most obvious of all is the coveting of a cursed ring, around which everything revolves.

1. The Rhinegold Ring (that can belong to none) is highly reminiscent of the infamous Ring from The Lord of the Rings. Many aspects of the journey of the rings are so on the nose that I need not elaborate much.

2. For those who have read The Silmarillion, there is the familiar element of kin strife over treasure.

3. The Children of Húrin explores the tropes of dragon slaying and a doomed incestuous relationship as used here.

4. Siegfried's love for Brunnhilde finds reflection in Beren's love for Lúthien and Aragorn's love for Arwen.

5. The riddle contest between Wotan and Alberich reminds of the riddling between Bilbo and Sméagol.

6. Broken sword of Nothung reminds one of the broken sword Narsil.

7. Sieglinde's handing over of her child to Mime (a dark elf/dwarf) is paralleled in rearing of Aragorn in Rivendell amidst elves.

8. Aragorn, like Siegfried, goes on a quest to redeem his ancestry/lineage with the help of a reforged sword.

9. The destruction of the Ring, which in turn ushers a New Age and the departure of the elves can be likened to the Twilight of the Gods.

I can go on and on. And I don't believe I am reading too much into this. It is well known that Tolkien was well versed in Norse myths and Icelandic sagas. He in turn made his own derivations from them to incorporate in his mythos. And it is not a stretch of imagination, that in some obscure way Wagner did inspire Tolkien to write his own Ring Saga. What is amazing is how different they are from each other despite the observed thematic similarities.

Wagner's Ring Cycle seems more and more like an iconic work, shining light on the works that succeeded it. Recognizing the archetypes is only part of the joy. The experience of reading it is filled with moments of pleasant recollections for Tolkien fans. I might try other translations in future. Hopefully, I will get to enjoy this visually soon. But, Tolkien enthusiast or no, it goes without saying that this much acclaimed yet less known work should be on everyone's TBR. :)
Profile Image for 7000.
60 reviews
May 18, 2023
I decided to DNF this because I just don't have the patience to spend over 15 hours on this. I have considered borrowing a text version of this "masterpiece," but reading something that is orignally designed for stage is probably not a wise option. To appreciate the true ingenuity of opera, I believe the only way is to appreciate it as it was designed to be. After watching the first 30 minutes of the Metropolitan version on bilibili, I can feel a gradual decrease of interest. Both the plot and the music did not appeal to me as I hoped they would. While I have not even finished a significant fraction of this cycle of operas, it is safe for me to conclude that the plot is going to focus on mythological heroes and gods. This goes against the very fundamental basis of the Christian faith--that the Lord our God is one God. It is simply not worth it to spend tens of hours on something that you know you wouldn't even agree with, much less like.

(A recent wave of changes in persepective landed on me unexpectly, but I decided to employ a more critical view of books, music, philosophy, and other matters that might have any correlations with or oppositions against the Christian faith. When you surf through my "Read" shelf, you can see that I have given many books five star ratings. I have given many Greek plays, for example, high ratings despite their blatant adoration of pagan gods. In restrospect, I have made terrible mistakes in forming my past rating system, and I am trying to adjust my rating criteria from now on)
Profile Image for Víctor.
324 reviews10 followers
December 3, 2016
Leer una ópera resulta difícil, en especial si es algo compuesto por Wagner.
"El anillo del Nibelungo" puede considerarse, junto con los trabajos de Mozart y Beethoven, uno de los mayores exponentes de la música alemana.
Richard Wagner, a diferencia de otros compositores, se encargó de escribir la partitura y el libreto de "El anillo", basándose en algunos aspectos de la mitología nórdica y la cultura alemana.
El resultado es sin duda alguna un trabajo único y sin precedentes que hasta el día de hoy es un factor clave en la cultura musical universal.
Leer "El anillo" siguiendo la música de Wagner es una experiencia inusual pero que debería hacerse al menos una vez en la vida - mencionando especialmente "La Waklyria", el cual sin lugar a dudas puede ser el mejor trabajo de la tetralogía.
Desafortunadamente la traducción al español por parte de Ángel Mayo da mucho que decir. La redacción es confusa y en algunos momentos pierde la esencia del poema, obligando al lector a recurrir al alemán para poder comprender de mejor manera.
Fuera de eso "El anillo del Nibelungo" resulta una experiencia enriquecedora y armónica para todo aquel que se atreva a sumergirse en las aguas cristalinas y míticas del Rin.
(Claramente Tolkien se inspiró en Wagner para el desarrollo de ""El señor de los anillos" )
Profile Image for Ruben Mes.
117 reviews6 followers
February 17, 2022
In this majestic, hardcover tome, Ul de Rico did to Wagner what Amazon didn't do to Tolkien's the Lord of the Rings universe.

With discretion and love for the original material, Ul de Rico painted a series of evocative vistas as beheld by the three Norns: Past, Present and Future.

Vivified by a strong 80's flavour, his art is thundering with mystical power, and take the viewer into the 'feeling' level of the catastrophes and revelations envisioned by Wagner's timeless classic, filled with Scandinavian mythology and a lot of resemblance to the Tolkien's world.

What I found here was more reverence and honour for the deeply symbolic than what the movie industry has done for Tolkien and Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, and I come to love the pure and mythological aspects of what could be seen is a simplistic fairytale. The very fact that it adheres so close to the original work of Wagner makes this so good.

This book relates not the poems or the story at large, but only breezes through it to give weight to the coloured paintings, which I actually appreciate as a first entry-level into Wagners magnum opus.

A brilliant and dignified rendition of what remains the original Lord of the Ring.
Profile Image for Mario_Bambea.
679 reviews90 followers
April 25, 2023
Appare l'anello

In questa prima opera della celeberrima tetralogia dell'Anello del Nibelungo, sono messe subito sul tavolo personaggi ed ambientazione.
Una dimensione tardo-romantica che sconfina a volte in un espressionismo quasi cacofonico: tempeste, rocce, oscurità e luce violente - Wagner sa creare un'epicità di grande forza e fascino che si pone quasi all'opposto dell'epica classica.
Emozioni e sentimenti immediati: desiderio, potere, invidia, violenza - non ci sono differenze tra dei, nani, semidei, giganti: tutti sembrano girare in preda alle passioni più irrazionali ed ingestibili. E si costruisce uno spettacolo sontuoso che cattura per la sua terribilità.
Importante notare come l’aspirazione wagneriana di creare un’opera d’arte totale porti l’autore a dettagliate descrizioni di ambientazioni e atmosfere - l’elemento letterario è quindi fondamentale tanto quanto quello musicale e quello drammaturgico.

Il testo letto in italiano non permette ovviamente un giudizio completo e concluso sul piano letterario: in ogni caso vi sono passaggi interessanti ed un uso della lingua efficace per creare l'atmosfera di gigantesche vicende epiche.
Profile Image for Wren.
101 reviews6 followers
November 17, 2020
This was... not entirely what I expected.

I absolutely loved the first two plays (Rhinegold and Valkyrie) but the latter two were quite disappointing from a gender equality perspective. For example, there was one scene where Brunnhilde stated that now that she lost her virginity, all of her power was lost, and I... I just balked. Seriously? Just, why?!

I should have known that an operatic masterpiece from the mid-1800s wouldn’t be progressive for it’s time, but I had some hope.

Overall a solid masterpiece of work that I don’t regret reading, and provided the background I’ve always wanted to know from reading the graphic novel series by Alex Alice (Siegfried - would highly recommend) from a while back.

P.S. I look forward to seeing the allusions in LOTR to this book and Beowulf when I read it in the near future.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Todd Hogan.
Author 6 books4 followers
January 31, 2022
This is a translation of Wagner's greatest work, which is spread over four performances. I hesitate to call them Operas since Wagner was striving to create an integrated work of art combining music, singing, drama, mythology, and theater. By most accounts, he succeeded and excelled. Because the work is in German, it's often difficult to appreciate the poetry of the work. This edition has both the German and the English translation on facing pages for all four pieces. It's a fascinating work any thing one can do to become more familiar with it is worthwhile. I highly recommend this translation and edition as a starting point!
Profile Image for Bernie4444.
1,328 reviews9 followers
December 27, 2022
This is a lot better than subtitles.

I have the “Wagner - Der Ring des Nibelungen / Levine, Metropolitan Opera (Complete Ring Cycle)” and enjoy watching it periodically.

However, after reading the book a couple of times, I can enjoy the film without always stopping to read the subtitles.

I understand some German, but I am still translating instead of thinking. Now however I am beginning to enjoy the reading itself.

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 matches the music.

After the introduction, it gets right down to business.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 90 reviews

Join the discussion

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.