Fun. Not normally a word one associates with Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Here is Frederick Paul Walter: “Wagner’s four-part theatre piece is the ancestor of three popculture phenomena: J. R. R. Tolkien’s trilogy The Lord of the Rings , George Lucas’s Star Wars franchise, and J. K. Rowling’s septet of Harry Potter novels.”

Frederick Paul Walter

There’s more, with the design of these four volumes very graphic-novel. There are newly commissioned illustrations by Cliff Mott, as well as classic illustrations by Arthur Rackham et al. But don’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

His hope is not misplaced. Dusting down my Solti, I test-drove the first volume. What a thrill...