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In the late 1970s, Seattle Opera produced Wagner’s RING twice each summer, once in German, the next week in Andrew Porter’s English singing translation. KUOW broadcast the English-language performances, so radio listeners could follow the story.
Here are Archie Drake as Gunther and James McCray as Siegfried in a scene from “Götterdämmerung.” Drake, who sang Wotan in English for Seattle Opera’s very first “Die Walküre” in 1973, performed Gunther in both languages for many years. James McCray was our English-language Siegfried the first three summers.
GUNTHER: I welcome you, my friend; you see the home of my fathers; the hall you stand in, and all you see, freely you may command them; share in my birthright, land and men: by my life let me swear it! Me, too, you shall command.
SIEGFRIED: No land nor men have I to give, no father’s house nor hall: all my birthright my sturdy limbs, useless things when I’m dead. Yet a sword have I; I have forged it: by my sword let me swear then! Body and sword shall be yours.
Photo by Des Gates