There is another factor not directly mentioned - the absence of a translation must have a seriously adverse impact on sales. There have been recordings of several operas in the last few years which, in many cases, I've been positively itching to hear. But then I haven't bought them because I know very well that the experience of sitting in my chair trying to grasp what is being sung will result in increasing irritation and dismay. A basic 'plot summary' ("she comes into the room, ignores his feeble protests, and stabs him" or whatever) just isn't good enough: I want to know precisely what is being sung. After all, nearly all opera composers take enormous pains to write music that supports, illuminates, or even occasionally undermines the text. So a recorded opera minus a libretto (and acutely so where it is the only recording of that opera) is akin to embarking on a walk in the countryside without your feet being equipped with boots. Does it not occur to record companies that the cost of providing a libretto is pretty negligible compared with profits from increased sales?
As Paul remarks, this has been at times an unusually fractious discussion. I know where my sympathies lie, and no point in throwing more stones. Time for some humour perhaps? Does anyone know a rather lengthy plot summary of the Ring provided by Tolstoy as an appendix to his (in my view tedious) essay 'What is Art?'? Chase it up, and I guarantee that gasps and howls will escape from your throat whilst tears of mirth trickle down the cheeks. More seriously, try (if you can) to imagine yourself listening to the Ring for the very first time. You have in your hand Tolstoy's plot summary. I venture you'd quickly become wholly bewildered and would soon decide to give up the attempt.
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