Ludwig II of Bavaria followed family precedent in undertaking an extravagant building programme during his relatively short reign from 1864 to 1886.
The castles constructed on his orders included the romantic Neuschwanstein and the magnificent Schloss Linderhof, with its elaborate formal gardens, grottoes and fountains. The tour ends with a brief glimpse of the mountainous Southern Tyrol in winter snow.
Richard Wagner’s innovative and immensely influential music dramas were largely based on older German legend, notably on the Nibelungenlied, the basis of his tetralogy The Ring. Ludwig II was fascinated by Wagner and by his operas, on subjects that had long been dear to him. These include the opera Lohengrin, which Ludwig first saw in 1861, the beginning of his preoccupation with Wagner, and the earlier opera Tannhäuser. The music chosen also includes an overture by Heinrich Marschner to an opera based on the old Bohemian legend of Hans Heiling, son of an Earth Spirit.
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