Richard Wagner's vast "Der Ring des Nibelungen" cycle comprises four full-length operas ("Das Rheingold", "Die Walkure", "Siegfried" and "Gotterdammerung") and is arguably the most extraordinary achievement in the history of opera. His own libretto to the operas is an intricate system of metric patterns, imaginative metaphors and alliteration, combining to produce the music in text. This boxed set provides a line-by-line translation of the four opera librettos, a running commentary on the action and signals as to when each leitmotif appears. Each leitmotif is a musical theme or motif which denotes a character, emotion, object or event, and these musical themes were used by Wagner as a unifying force within his dramas. The listener following the opera with the libretto is able to pinpoint the various themes (in the Ring cycle there are 81 leitmotifs) and so increase understanding of the drama. Sabor's translation seeks to preserve the original metre and elucidate the complexities of Wagner's intricate libretto. The volumes are supplemented with scene-by-scene synopses, short discussions of each leitmotif, a discography, videography and bibliography. The companion volume offers essays on the meaning of the Ring, on Wagner's turbulent and fascinating life, his varied literary sources from the world of myth, the genesis of the cycle and its performance history over the last 120 years.
Phaidon Press Ltd
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