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Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner (Composer)

Born: 22nd May 1813, Leipzig

Died: 13th February 1883, Venice

Nationality: German

Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor who is chiefly known for his operas (or, as some of his mature works were later known, "music dramas"). Unlike most opera composers, Wagner wrote both the libretto and the music for each of his stage works. Initially establishing his reputation as a composer of works in the romantic vein of Carl Maria von Weber and Giacomo Meyerbeer, 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. He described this vision in a series of essays published 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).

Further Reading: Wagner

 Recording of the Week, Igor Levit's Tristan

Hans Werner Henze's brilliant, baffling set of ‘Preludes for piano, electronic tapes and orchestra’ sits at the heart of this Wagner-inspired recital, which also includes music by Liszt and Mahler via Ronald Stevenson.

 Interview, Catherine Foster on Wagner

The British dramatic soprano, who sings Brünnhilde on the Weimar Ring Cycle which is now available on Arthaus Musik, talks to Katherine about her remarkable journey from midwifery to Bayreuth.

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