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Good Books and More for Getting Into Richard Wagner’s Opera of the Swan Knight

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For more treats and resources, visit AaronShepard at www.aaronshep.com.

Copyright 2005, 2014 Aaron Shepard. May be freely copied and shared for any noncommercial purpose as long as no text is altered or omitted.


Here are the most valuable books and other offline resources I found for my retelling of Richard Wagner’s opera Lohengrin. Most links are for more info at Amazon.com, an affiliate.

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Note: Every Wagner lover has their favorite recordings. I’m no opera expert myself, but these are ones I’ve enjoyed.

Lohengrin, performed by the Vienna Philharmonic, conducted by Georg Solti, London, 1990, remastered from the original recording. An audio recording featuring Placido Domingo as the Swan Knight. The accompanying booklet includes a fine translation by Chris Wood, as well as background articles by Wagner scholars.

Lohengrin, performed by the Vienna State Opera, conducted by Claudio Abbado, Image Entertainment, 2001. A video recording, again featuring Placido Domingo.

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Lohengrin (English National Opera Guide#47), by Richard Wagner, translated by Amanda Holden, Calder, London, and Riverrun Press, New York, 1993. The best standalone translation I found. Includes background articles by Wagner scholars.

See Solti’s recording above for the accompanying translation by Chris Wood.

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The Swan Knight: A Medieval Legend, Retold from Wagner’s Lohengrin, by Aaron Shepard, Skyhook Press, 2014. My own retelling of the story of Lohengrin, based on the opera. (The full text can be found on my Web site.)

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Wagner Without Fear: Learning to Love—and Even Enjoy—Opera’s Most Demanding Genius, by William Berger, Vintage, New York, 1998. This is probably the best introduction to Wagner and his operas for the musical layman. Includes plot synopses, interesting facts, shameless gossip, raging controversies, survival tactics, and a good deal of humor.

Wagner, by Barry Millington, Princeton University, 1992. A fine introduction to Wagner and his operas for those with musical training.


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