Today, May 22th is the Bicentenary of German composer Richard Wagner!
Richard Wagner is, probably, the most controversial composer of all times. Admired as a composer but hated as a human being.
Richard Wagner was a musical genius of the Opera but he was very controversial as a person. We all know the very sad fact about Wagner’s antisemitism.
If you want to have an idea about how controversial is Wagner’s personality, he is the composer that more books have been written about (biographies and essays) than any other composer of musical history, more than Bach, Mozart and Beethoven.
Today, in many Opera houses in Europe, Wagner is being commemorated on the 200th anniversary of his birth with new opera productions and special Gala concerts.
There is no doubt that Wagner brought a new musical language to Opera.
Born in May 22 of 1813, Richard Wagner was not only a composer, but also a conductor, theatre director and a writer. His operas were later known as “Musical dramas” as Wagner himself said.
Unlike most other opera composers, Wagner wrote both the libretto and the music for each of his stage works.
Wagner revolutionised opera through his concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk (“total work of art”), by which he sought to synthesise the poetic, visual, musical and dramatic arts, with music subsidiary to drama, and which was announced in a series of essays between 1849 and 1852. Wagner realised these ideas most fully in the first half of the four-opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung).
His advances in musical language, such as extreme chromaticism and quickly shifting tonal centres, greatly influenced the development of classical music.
His Tristan und Isolde is sometimes described as marking the start of modern music.
His compositions, particularly those of his later period, are notable for their complex textures, rich harmonies and orchestration, and the elaborate use of leitmotifs—musical phrases associated with individual characters, places, ideas or plot elements.
Rienzi, the Ring Cycle (Das Rheingold, Dir Walküre, Sigfried und Götterdämmerung), Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Tristan und Isolde, Lohengrin, Tannhäuser and Parsifal (his final opera) are admired by the Opera public and critics.
Some Wagner Trivia: Wagner’s second wife was Cosima, Liszt’s daughter.
Wagner’s music inspired to an entire new generation of composers like Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler and Jules Massenet, just to name a few.
Wagner was also a huge influence in literature, philosophy and visual arts.
Many French Poets like Charles Baudelaire, Stéphane Mallarmé and Paul Verlaine admired Wagner.
Famous German poet Rainer Maria Rilke was also influenced by Wagner.
Wagner is also discussed in some of the works of James Joyce.
Marcel Proust and Thomas Mann also discussed Wagner in their novels.
Festspielhaus in Bayreuth
Thank you to Wikipedia, Larousse, Wagner 200 Uk, The-Wagnerian and many more web sites dedicated to Richard Wagner for these information!
Happy 200th Anniversary to Richard Wagner!
All Opera lovers are celebrating Wagner’s Bicentenary!