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Richard Wagner

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Richard Wagner

TIME LINE: Wagner's Life

Ð'§ 1813: Wilhelm Richard Wagner is born on May 22.

Wagner's father dies on November 23.

Ð'§ 1814: Wagner's mother remarries

Ð'§ 1815: Wagner's mother has a daughter Cacilie

Ð'§ 1821: Wagner's step-father dies

Ð'§ 1829: Wagner composes his first music: two piano sonatas and a string quartet

Ð'§ 1830: Writes a piano arrangement for Beethoven's Ninth Symphony

Ð'§ 1832: Begins work on first opera, Die Hochzeit

Ð'§ 1833: Begins work on Die Feen

Ð'§ 1836: Marries Minna Planer

Ð'§ 1839: Flees to London to avoid creditors, then to Paris

Ð'§ 1847: Takes an interest in Greek plays

Ð'§ 1857: Begins work on Tristan & Isolde

Ð'§ 1858: Minna finds love letter Richard wrote to Mathilde

Ð'§ 1859: Moves to Paris with Minna and completes Tristan & Isolde

Ð'§ 1862: Richard and Minna separate and Wagner moves to Vienna

Ð'§ 1864: Wagner begins affair with Cosima Von Bulow

Ð'§ 1865: A daughter Isolde is born to Richard and Cosima and he moves to Switzerland

Ð'§ 1867: A second daughter, Eva, is born to Richard and Cosima

Ð'§ 1869: A son, Siegfried, is born to Richard and Cosima

Ð'§ 1870: Richard and Cosima finally get married

Ð'§ 1878: Begins writing a series of reactionary essays

Ð'§ 1883: Richard Wagner dies of a heart attack in Venice on February 13. The funeral was held at Bayreuth on February 18.



Die Feen 6 Jan 1834

Das Liebesverbot Dec 1835

Rienzi 19 Nov 1840

Der fliegende HollÐ"¤nder 30 Oct 1841

TannhÐ"¤user 13 Apr 1845

Lohengrin 28 Apr 1848

Das Rheingold 26 Sep 1854

Die WalkÐ"јre 23 Mar 1856

Siegfried 5 Feb 1871

GÐ"¶tterdÐ"¤mmerung 21 Nov 1874

Tristan und Isolde 6 Aug 1859

Die Meistersinger 24 Oct 1867

Parsifal 13 Jan 1882


Richard Wagner was one of the most influential and controversial classical composers of all time. Most of his works were operas and they addressed many aspects of his personal feelings: society, politics, religions, etc. Though many hated (and still hate) him and his work, most revere him to be a multitalented genius that brought 19th Century music to higher levels.

Wagner's Life

Wilhelm Richard Wagner was born on May 22, 1813 in Leipzig. At six months old, Wagner lost his father Frau Karl Friedrich to typhoid, which he caught from the corpses lying unburied in the streets after the Napoleonic War in Leipzig. Less than a year later, Wagner's mother married Ludwig Geyer, who Wagner believes is his real father, even though nothing was ever proved. Geyer, like Wagner had an artistic gift. He was an actor a painter, dramatist, and singer. As a child, Geyer was determined "to make something" of Wagner (Jacobs 3). He failed at drawing and painting. Wagner did not realize he had a talent until Geyer was on his deathbed with collapsed lungs. His mother put him in the next room with a piano because Geyer said, "What if he has a talent for music (Jacobs 3)?"

Wagner had the dramatist's instinct to seek escape from this world by contriving another. No other great composer began this late in life. Wagner took delight less in the symbol than in that which it symbolized- less in music as abstract sound than as a conjurer of fancies and emotions. It was not that he was less musical than the others were, but that his goal was and remained- drama. School and education did not come as an exciting thing for Wagner. He did not attend classes, and when he did, he found them boring. In the summer of 1832, he began his first opera, Die Hochzeit (The Wedding). The story was crude, but it symbolized emotional conflicts between impulse and obligation, love and morality-which were to haunt Wagner all his life and occasion some of his greatest music. Wagner was the victim of his imperious will to drama, which was not content to seek escape from this world by conjuring his musical instinct to create for him another, but must dramatize his daily life in this.

Wagner met Minna Planer, the leading actress in his opera Die Feen, who, was attracted him at once and got married in 1836. Wagner fell in love with one of



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