Richard Wagner photo Richard Wagner was born in Leipzig on 22 May 1813, the ninth son of the amateur jurist and actor Carl Friedrich Wagner who died of typhus six months after his birth, due to this the family moved to Dresden.
During his childhood Wagner has a close contact with the world of the stage, as his mother had married, on second marriage, an actor who often takes him to the rehearsals, hence the love for the musician's theater.
In 1828 Wagner returned to Leipzig where he completed his studies. At the age of 16 he witnesses a performance of "Fidelio", he is so struck by it that from that moment he decides to become a musician.
From the disordered musical studies are born the first sonatas, a string quartet and a never completed attempt of the opera "Die Hochzeit".
Finally, in 1830, Wagner began to study more serious music, taking composition lessons from Christian Theodor Weinlig (manager of an important choir of Leipzig, The Thomanerchor), to whom he dedicated his first composition "Klaviersonate in B-Dur" and, the following year, he continued his studies at the University of Leipzig.
In 1833 he was appointed director of the choir of the theater in Würzburg, which offered him the opportunity to occasionally cover the roles of stage director, prompter and, later, as conductor.
In Würzburg he composed his first opera "Die FeenDall" and in 1837 became music director in Königsberg (the current Kaliningrad), but the theater, forced to close due to over-indebtedness, involves Wagner himself who ends up full of debts.
To escape the creditors he moved to Riga, where he got a job as a manager, but lost two years later. Still fleeing from creditors, in secret, crosses the border between Russia and Prussia, he embarks on a small sailboat to London: from this stormy journey will be born "Il Vascello Fantasma".
In conditions of semi-poverty, in 1840, in Paris, he began to deepen the study of the music of Berlioz, completes the "Rienzi", which he had begun in Riga and the year after he composes "The Phantom Ship" (The Flying Dutchman) ). It is in these years the meeting with Ludwig Feuerbach, his philosophy of atheism and the socialist theories of Pierre Joseph Proudhon, which influenced the early versions of the "Nibelungs".
1842 sees the real theatrical debut of Wagner with the execution of the "Rienzi", which took place in Dresden and the success obtained by the prosecutors, the following year, the charge of Musikdirektor to court work.
Friend of the Russian anarchist Michail Bakunin, Wagner in 1849, was arrested for participating in the revolutionary movements. Sentenced to death, he manages to escape rocambolescamente and take refuge in Zurich where he stays until the amnesty (1860).
Richard Wagner biography
In 1852 Wagner began working on the project "Der Ring des Nibelungen" ("The Ring of the Nibelungo"), an immense theatrical drama divided into a prologue and three days, and composed "The masters singers of Nuremberg".
King Ludwig II of Bavaria, his passionate admirer, since 1864, finances the wasteful lifestyle of Wagner and the construction of the Festspielhauses of Bayreuth with a substantial income.
The Festspielhauses was the first Opera Theater as we understand it today, with the orchestra pit, the cure for the problems of correct acoustics, the result of the careful architectural and scenic study of Wagner, where every year, from the end July until the end of August, the Wagnerian Festival takes place.
The "Tristan and Isolde", staged does not get the success hoped for, his music anticipates too much the musical tastes that will assert themselves in the twentieth century.
Wagner's emotional life is also rather stormy, due to an extramarital affair, his wife, the singer Minna Planner, gets the separation. Left alone, after the scandalous relationship of Wagner with Cosima Liszt, daughter of Franz Liszt, and wife of the famous conductor Hans Von Bulowdalla, he will marry her in 1870, and will have three children Eva, Isolde and Siegfried.
Now famous and economically satisfied, Richard Wagner devotes himself to another project: the drafting of the "Parsifal", which will begin in 1877 and conclude in 1882 in Palermo.
Following a heart attack Wagner died in Venice on February 13, 1883 in the Vendramin palace, where he had moved with his family the year before and was buried in Bayreuth not far from the theater named after him.