Richard Wagner

New Light on a Musical Life

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About the Book

This is a new biography of the German composer Richard Wagner, 200 years after his birth, re-examining his life in light of new documents and new sensibilities. Since World War II Wagner has often been wrongly associated with Adolf Hitler because Hitler liked Wagner’s music and used it in Nazi propaganda. But Wagner died in 1883—fifty years before Hitler’s regime. It is time to have a fresh look at Wagner’s life without the Nazi associations. His life was a series of abandonments and traumas for the self-destructive but creative genius, as he tried to survive as a freelance composer in the hostile environments of 19th century Germany.

About the Author(s)

John Louis DiGaetani, an English professor at Hofstra University, is the author of numerous books about opera and theater.

Bibliographic Details

John Louis DiGaetani
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 228
Bibliographic Info: 16 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4544-8
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8502-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgements  ix

Preface  1

Introduction  3

 1. A Child of War: 1813–1821  9

 2. The Child as Victim: 1821–1830  23

 3. Student in Leipzig: 1823–1833  33

 4. Minna and Magdeburg: 1833–1840  44

 5. Russia, England and Paris (First Sojourn): 1837–1842  54

 6. Kapellmeister in Dresden—Premieres of Rienzi,The Flying Dutchman and Tannhäuser: 1840–1849  64

 7. Revolution in Dresden: 1848–1850  75

 8. Wagner and Liszt—The Premiere of Lohengrin: 1849–1850  82

 9. Refuge in Zurich—The Development of Big Plans: 1850–1857  90

10. The Idea of the Ring: Italy: 1857–1858  98

11. The Wesendoncks: 1858–1859  107

12. Venice, Switzerland and Paris: 1859–1861  113

13. Paris and Tannhäuser: 1860–1861  122

14. Vienna, Russia and Matrimonial Crisis: 1861–1864  131

15. The Rescue by King Ludwig II of Bavaria: 1864–1865  139

16. Tristan in Munich: 1864–1865  147

17. The Triangle in Triebschen: 1865–1870  153

18. Meistersinger Premiere in Munich: 1868–1871  162

19. Hans, Cosima and King Ludwig: 1870–1874  169

20. The Idea of Bayreuth—The Premiere of the Ring: 1873–1876  175

21. Wagner and Nietzsche: 1876–1880  182

22. Parsifal: 1881–1882  191

23. Death in Venice: 1883  201

Conclusion: A Life of Extremes  207

Bibliography  211

Index  215