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Richard Wagner in Venice

Along with his family, Richard Wagner, the famous German composer, returned to Venice in 1882. On Christmas Eve of the same year, to celebrate the birthday of his wife Cosima, Wagner conducted a private concert in the Apollinee rooms of the Fenice Theatre

After several years of absence, Richard Wagner, the famous German composer, returned to Venice in 1882 with his family. At first, they stayed at the hotel Europa and later sub-leased from Count Bardi an entire floor of Ca 'Vendramin Calergi - today home to the prestigious Venice Casino - where they moved on September 16th. The apartment was located in the wing overlooking the garden and consisted of 28 rooms, a kitchen and services; Wagner particularly liked to receive guests in the large room, whose double window offered a splendid view of the Grand Canal.

 

The composer Franz Liszt also stayed at Ca 'Vendramin-Calergi at the end of 1882, when he visited his daughter Cosima and his son-in-law. Liszt and Wagner were often seen sitting together and chatting in front of the large window on the Grand. It was here that Liszt wrote the first draft of "The lugubrious gondola" inspired by the oars of a gondola that, as he recounts,  "beat his brains".. On Christmas Eve of 1882, to celebrate the birthday of his wife Cosima, Wagner conducted a private concert in the Apollinee rooms of the Fenice. The Symphony in C major, a youth work performed by the pupils and teachers of the Liceo Benedetto Marcello, was played. Liszt was present, and at the request of Wagner, he played a Rossini's aria at the piano.

 

In Venice, Wagner spent his last winter with his family, until his death on February 13, 1883 of a heart attack. On the night before he died, he played the Lament of the Rhine-daughters at the piano, from his opera "The Rhine Gold". His remains were transported by gondola to the railway station and from there by train to Bayreuth, in Bavaria, to be buried in the garden of his villa. Today, some rooms of his apartment are used as a museum open to the public in memory of the musician and his love for Venice; moreover, since 2003 adjacent rooms have been used as a museum and host the Josef Lienhart collection: rare documents, scores, autographed letters, paintings, disks, lithographs and various memorabilia. It is the largest private collection dedicated to the German composer after that of Bayreuth.