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About the Man

Richard Wagner Time Line

1813, May 22nd – Richard Wagner was born in Leipzig
1813, November 23rd – Death of Friedrich Wagner (father)
1814, August 28th – Johanna P├ñtz Wagner (mother), marries Ludwig Geyer, actor-artist
1819, July – Book by Arthur Schopenhauer published: Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung
1820, Sister Rosalie’s debut as an actress with Dresden Court Theatre
1821, September 30th – RW’s stepfather Ludwig Geyer dies
1822, RW commences three years of schooling in Dresden, studies Greek tragedies, piano
1824, Sister Klara makes debut with Dresden Opera
1826, Family move to Prague
1826, RW remains in Dresden where he begins Shakespearean tragedy, Leubald und Adelaïde
1827, January 28th – Family returns to Leipzig where RW joins them
1827, March 26th – Death of Ludwig von Beethoven
1828, RW first hears Beethoven symphonies
1828, RW studies at the Nikolai-Gymnasium
1829, RW decides to be a musician (after seeing Wilhelmine Schr├Âder-Devrient perform)
1829, RW studies violin and theory
1831, RW Enters Leipzig University, studies harmony and counterpoint with Theodor Weinlig
1831, RW composes D Minor Overture, piano sonata in B-flat major
1832, RW composes C Major Symphony (in six weeks)
1832, RW visits Vienna and Prague
1832, RW makes sketches for first opera, ‘Die Hochzeit’ (unfinished)
1833, RW composes ‘die Feen’
1834, May – RW travels through Bohemia, Prague, with Theodor Apel
1834, RW begins text of Das Liebesverbot
1834, RW begins five years as a conductor in provinces
1834, RW becomes Musical director (Lauchstädt and Magdeburg)
1834, RW starts relationship with Minna Planer
1835, RW works on ‘das Liebesverbot’
1835, Columbus Overture performed in Magdeburg, tour to find singers
1835, Proposes to Minna
1835, Completes Das Liebesverbot
1836, Premi├¿re of ‘das Liebesverbot’.
1836, November 24th RW marries Minna Planer
1837, Rule Britannia Overture performed at K├Âingsberg
1837, Leaves for Dresden where he conceives Rienzi
1837, RW becomes musical director in Riga
1837, November – Rosalie dies in childbirth
1838, RW begins work on the opera ‘Rienzi’
1839, RW flees Riga (escaping his creditors) travels to London then Paris
1839, Possible idea for Flying Dutchman occurs to him on trip to London
1839, September – RW begins two and a half years residence in Paris
1840, January – First version of Faust Overture
1840, Offers plot of Flying Dutchman to The Paris Opèra
1840, RW meets Liszt
1840, Completes Rienzi
1840, November – RW imprisoned for debts
1841, Composition of ‘der Fliegende Holl├ñnder’
1841, RW receives 500 francs for libretto, Le Vaisseau Fant├┤me (set to music by Pierre Dietsch)
1841, Aug-Sept – RW expands and finishes Le Vaisseau Fant├┤me (as his Flying Dutchman)
1842, RW and Minna depart Paris for Dresden
1843, October 20th – Premi├¿re of ‘Rienzi’ in Dresden
1843, The start of his fame
1843, January 2nd – Premi├¿re of ‘der Fliegende Holl├ñnder’ in Dresden
1843, RW takes position of Hofkapellmeister in Dresden
1844, RW starts work on ‘Tannh├ñuser’
1844, October 15th – Birth of Friedrich Nietzsche
1845, October 19th Premi├¿re of ‘Tannh├ñuser’ (Dresden)
1845, RW sketches ‘Meistersinger’ over the summer (in Marienbad)
1845, August 25: Birth of Ludwig II
1846, RW begins composition of ‘Lohengrin’
1846, RW meets Hans von B├╝low
1847, Completes ‘Lohengrin’
1848, January 9th Death of RW’s mother
1848, RW becomes politically active (revolutionary)
1848, Genesis of ‘der Ring des Nibelungen’
1849, RW flees to Switzerland following failure of revolution
1849, Exile to Z├╝rich
1849, RW writes essay “Art and revolution” (June)
1849, RW writes essay “The Art-Work of the Future” (Nov-Dec)
1850, August 28th – Premi├¿re ‘Lohengrin’ in Weimar (director Franz Liszt)
1850, January – Works in Paris; brief affair with Jessie Laussot in Bordeaux
1850, July – Returns to Minna in Zurich
1850, August – Writes “Judaism in Music,” published under pseudonym
1850, Abandons libretto for opera Wieland der Schmied
1850, Reputation grows
1850, Writes 330-page opus, ‘Opera and Drama’ (Oct-Feb 1851)
1851, November – publishes ‘Opera and Drama’
1852, Wagner completes ‘Ring-poem’ in Z├╝rich
1853, Composes prelude to ‘das Rheingold’
1853, June – Writes piano sonata for Mathilde
1853, Summer – Takes cure in Saintt Moritz, goes mountain climbing
1853, Late Summer – Trip to La Spezia, Italy
1853, October – Meets 15 year old Cosima on trip to Paris (with Liszt)
1853, November – Begins music for Das Rheingold
1854, RW reads ‘Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung’ (Schopenhauer)
1854, Initial idea for ‘Tristan & Isolde’ (inspired by Mathilde and Schopenhauer)
1854, January – Finishes composition of Das Rheingold
1854, September – Finishes composition of Das Rheingold full score
1854, June-Sept – Begins music for Die Walk├╝re
1854, December – Writes second version of Faust Overture (and conducts in Zurich)
1855, RW conducts eight concerts in London (March-June)
1855, Meets Berlioz in London
1855, RW resumes scoring Walk├╝re (after three months interruption)
1856, March 23rd – Completes ‘die Walk├╝re’
1856, May – sketches unfinished opera ‘Die Sieger’
1856, Starts first sketches of Siegfried (completed 1871)
1857, May – RW moves to the Asyl, a house on the Wesendonck property
1857, Relationship between RW and Minna deteriorating
1857, August 9th – RW completes sketches to Act 2, Siegfried
1857, Visit from Cosima and von B├╝low on their honeymoon
1857, RW drops Siegfried (and work on the Ring) for work on Tristan poem
1857, RW begins ‘Tristan & Isolde’
1858, RW + Mathilde Wesendonck affair
1858 Work and travel takes him to Paris, Zurich, Geneva, Venice
1858, Minna, jealous of Mathilde, returns to Germany
1858, RW working on Tristan
1858, Separation of RW and Minna
1858, RW departs for Venice (Minna to Dresden)
1859 Finishes Tristan Act II in Venice; Act III, Lucerne. To Paris in Sept. where he is reunited with Minna, Nov.
1859, Completion of ‘Tristan & Isolde’. RW 46
1860, September 21st Arthur Schopenhauer dies
1860 Paris concerts a financial failure
1860, Revises Venusberg scene for performance of Tannhäuser at Opera
1860, July – Granted political amnesty to Germany (except Saxony)
1860, August – RW visits Taunus, Baden-Baden, Rhine
1860, September – Rehearsing Paris Tannh├ñuser (to March 1861)
1861, Paris – Tannh├ñuser-scandal
1862, Final meeting RW + Minna, in Biebrich
1862 RW completes Die Meistersinger libretto
1862, RW settles in Biebrich, near Maniz, to work on music
1862, Romantic involvment with Friederike Meyer and Mathilde Maier
1862, November – Last meeting with Minna, in Dresden
1863 RW an itenerant conductor for a year, touring Germany, Austria, Russia
1863, November – Visits Cosima and von B├╝low in Berlin
1863, RW and Cosima von B├╝low declare they belong to one another
1864, RW invited to Munich by King Ludwig II
1864, RW disillusioned and bankrupt – invitation represents a ‘gift from heaven’
1864, Cosima von B├╝low ‘moves in’ with RW
1864, Scoring Acts I, II of Siegfried
1864, King Ludwig 11 resolves to build festival theatre for RW
1865, April 10th – Birth of Isolde (first child of RW and Cosima)
1865, June 10th Premi├¿re of ‘Tristan & Isolde’ in Munich
1865, RW begins ‘Mein Leben’ (autobiography)
1865, Completion 2nd act of Siegfried
1865, December 10th RW forced to leave Bavaria (for financial and political reasons)
1866, January 25th – Death of Minna (RW in Tribschen)
1866, May – Secret visit from King Ludwig 11
1866, RW resumes work on ‘Die Meistersinger’
1867, Cosima in Tribschen
1867, Second child of RW and Cosima, Eva, born February 17th
1867, Cosima visits von Bülow in Munich where he produces Lohengrin (June) and Tannhäuser (Aug)
1868, June 21: Premi├¿re of ‘die Meistersinger’ (in Munich)
1868, November 8th – Leipzig, first meeting between RW and Nietzsche
1868, November 16th – Cosima permanently moves in with RW in Tribschen
1869, Friedrich Nietzsche starts visiting Tribschen regularly
1869, March 1st RW starts the 3rd act of Siegfried
1869, June 6th – Birth of Siegfried Wagner
1869, July – Judith Gautier and husband visit for nine days
1869, September 22nd Premi├¿re ‘das Rheingold’ in Munich
1869, Von B├╝low resigns and Richter assumes productions of Rheingold (due for Aug)
1869, Sept 22nd – Richter intrigues fail and Rheingold premi├¿re held in Munich, under Franz W├╝llner
1869, October 2nd – Wagner starts G├Âtterd├ñmmerung (completed 1874)
1870, June 26th – Premi├¿re of ‘die Walk├╝re’ in Munich under W├╝llner
1870, July 18th Divorce of Cosima and Hans von B├╝low
1870, July 19th – War declared between France and Germany
1870, August 25th – RW and Cosima marry in Luzern
1870 Plans for Bayreuth Festival theatre take shape
1870, December – RW writes ‘Siegfried Idyll’ for Cosima’s 33rd birthday
1871, January 18th Wilhelm I proclaimed German Emperor
1871, RW composes Kaisermarsch in honor of the coronation of Wilhelm I as Emperor of Germany
1871, Visits Berlin to deliver his paper on “The Destiny of Opera” to the Berlin Royal Academy of Arts
1871, May – Discuss Bayreuth plans with Bismarck
1871, Wagner decides on Bayreuth as location for Festspiele
1871, February 5th – Completion of Siegfried
1872, Wagner family moves to Bayreuth
1872, May 22nd First stone for the construction of Festspielhaus laid
1874, April 28th – Wagner family settles in house ‘Wahnfried’
1874, November 21 – Wagner completes ‘G├Âtterd├ñmmerung’
1874, Completion of ‘The Ring of the Nibelung’
1874, February – New loan for festival building from King Ludwig 11
1874, March – Begins plans for projected Ring festival
1874, April – Wagner family moves into Haus Wahnfried
1875, First rehearsals in Bayreuth
1876, RW paid $5,000 by US Independence celebration committee for Centennial March
1876, RW and Nietzsche meet in Sorrento, for the last time
1877 RW starts work on Parsifal
1878, January – Begins Bayreuther Bl├ñtter
1878, February – Brief affair with Judith Gautier ends
1878, RW works on composition and orchestration of Parsifal
1880, October – Travels to Posilipo, Naples, Siena, Venice
1880, October – Article “Religion and Art” published in Bayreuther Bl├ñtter
1880, October 30th – Returns to Munich and bids farewell to King Ludwig 11
1880, November – RW returns to Bayreuth, resumes scoring Parsifal
1881, May 29th – RW may have suffered heart attack at Berlin Ring performance
1881, Preparing Parsifal for performance, summer
1881, September – Essay titled “Herodom and Christianity” published in Bayreuther Bl├ñtter
1881, November – Travels to Palermo (works on Act III of Parsifal)
1882, January 13th – Parsifal completion (Palermo)
1882, April – Travels to Messina, Venice
1882, July 26th – Second Bayreuther Festspiele (with successful premi├¿re of Parsifal)
1882, September – Wagner family travels to Venice
1883, February 13th ‘Der Meister’ dies in Venice
1883, February 18th Funeral of Richard Wagner in Bayreuth

List of works for the stage by Richard Wagner

TITLE: Leubald, 1827ÔÇô28
Premiered: Bayreuth, 9 August 1989
NOTES: Childhood attempt to write a grand tragedy based on Shakespearean themes

TITLE: Die Laune des Verliebten, 1829ÔÇô30
EN: The infatuated lover’s caprice, (unfinished)
Premiered: Unperformed
NOTES: Based on a play by Goethe
Neither text nor music survives

TITLE: Die Hochzeit, 1832
EN: The Wedding Opera, (unfinished)
Premiered: Leipzig, Neues Theatre, 13 February 1938
NOTES: Based on a story by J.G.G. B├╝sching

TITLE: Die Feen, 1833-34
EN: The Fairies
Premiered: 29 June 1888, Munich, Hoftheater
NOTES: A reworking of La donna serpente by Carlo Gozzi

TITLE: Das Liebesverbot, 1835ÔÇô36
EN: The Ban on Love
Premiered: 29 March 1836 Magdeburg, Stadttheater
NOTES: Loosely based on Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure

TITLE: Die hohe Braut, 1836ÔÇô37-42
EN: The High-born Bride
Premiered: Prague
NOTES: Libretto sketched by Wagner in 1836ÔÇô37, completed in 1842,
Eventually set to music by Jan Bedrich Kittl under the title Bianca und Giuseppe

TITLE: M├ñnnerlist gr├Â├ƒer als Frauenlist, oder Die gl├╝ckliche B├ñrenfamilie (unfinished), 1839
EN: Men are more cunning than women or The Happy Bear family
Premiered: 13 October 2007 London, Linbury Studio, Royal Opera House
NOTES: Based on a tale from One Thousand and One Nights.
The libretto was completed but only the first three numbers set to music. These were lost until 1994

TITLE: Rienzi, der letzte der Tribunen, 1839ÔÇô40
EN: Rienzi, the Last of the Tribunes
Premiered: 20 October 1842 Dresden, Hoftheater
NOTES: Based on a drama by Edward Bulwer Lytton

TITLE: Der fliegende Holländer, 1842
EN: The Flying Dutchman
Premiered: 2 January 1843 Dresden, Hoftheater
NOTES: The orchestration was revised by Wagner several times.
The opera is sometimes performed in a single act, without intermissions

TITLE: Die Sarazenin, 1841ÔÇô42
EN: The Saracen Woman
Premiered: Unperformed
NOTES: Libretto based on the character “Manfred” from Lord Byron’s drama, not set to music

TITLE: Die Bergwerke zu Falun, 1842
EN: The Mines of Falun
Premiered: Unperformed
NOTES: Sketch of opera, based on a story by E. T. A. Hoffmann

TITLE: Tannh├ñuser und der S├ñngerkrieg auf dem Wartburg (usually shortened to Tannh├ñuser), 1843ÔÇô45
EN: Tannhäuser and the Song Contest on the Wartburg
Premiered: 19 October 1845
Revised version: 18 March 1861 Dresden, Hoftheater
Paris, Op├®ra (1861)
Wagner did not produce a definitive edition of the score.
The Paris premiere was disrupted by political and other demonstrations

TITLE: Lohengrin, 1846ÔÇô48
EN: Lohengrin
Premiered: 28 August 1850 Weimar, Hoftheater Loosely based on the German legend of Lohengrin, as presented in medieval verse including Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival

TITLE: Friedrich I, 1848ÔÇô49
EN: Friedrich I
Premiered: Unperformed
NOTES: Project on Frederick I of Prussia, possibly intended as a music drama. No libretto or music written

TITLE: Jesus von Nazareth, 1848ÔÇô49
EN: Jesus of Nazareth
Premiered: Unperformed
NOTES: Prose draft only for libretto, no music written. Aspects of the sketch may have been used in the writing of Parsifal

TITLE: Achilleus, 1848ÔÇô49
EN: Achilles
Premiered: Unperformed
NOTES: Prose sketch, no music written

TITLE: Wieland der Schmied, 1849ÔÇô50
EN: Wieland the Smith Heldenoper
Premiered: Unperformed
NOTES: Prose sketch for a heroic opera, offered to and rejected by Liszt and Berlioz. Eventually adapted by O. Schlemm and set by Ján Levoslav Bella (premiere Slovak National Theatre, Bratislava, 28 April 1926)

TITLE: Das Rheingold, 1853ÔÇô54
EN: The Rhine Gold
Premiered: 22 September 1869 Munich, Hofoper First part of Der Ring des Nibelungen.
NOTES: First performance as part of complete Ring cycle: 13 August 1876, at Bayreuth Festspielhaus [49]

TITLE: Die Walk├╝re, 1854ÔÇô56
EN: The Valkyrie
Premiered: 26 June 1870 Munich, Hofoper Second part of Der Ring des Nibelungen.
NOTES: First performed as part of complete Ring cycle: 14 August 1876, at Bayreuth Festspielhaus [51]

TITLE: Die Sieger, 1856
EN: The Victors
Premiered: Unperformed
Prose outline and music sketches for an opera on a Buddhist subject; some music may have been used in later works. [17][52][53]

TITLE: Tristan und Isolde, 1857ÔÇô59
EN: Tristan and Isolde
Premiered: 10 June 1865 Munich, Hofoper
NOTES: Based in part on Gottfried von Strassburg’s medieval epic, also believed to be an idealisation of Wagner’s love for Mathilde Wesendonck

TITLE: Die Meistersinger von N├╝rnberg, 1861ÔÇô67
EN: The Mastersingers of Nuremberg
Premiered: 21 June 1868 Munich, Hofoper
NOTES: Wagner’s only mature attempt at a comic opera, based on a draft originally written in 1845 [58][59]

TITLE: Luthers Hochzeit, 1868
EN: Luther’s Wedding
Premiered: Unperformed
NOTES: A sketch play/libretto about Martin Luther and his decision to marry Katherina von Bora

TITLE: Siegfried, 1856ÔÇô71
EN: Siegfried
Premiered: 16 August 1876 Bayreuth Festspielhaus
NOTES: Third part of Der Ring des Nibelungen. The composition was interrupted for 12 years between 1857 and 1869

TITLE: G├Âtterd├ñmmerung, 1871ÔÇô74
EN: Twilight of the Gods
Premiered: 17 August 1876 Bayreuth Festspielhaus
NOTES: Fourth part of Der Ring des Nibelungen

TITLE: Eine Kapitulation, 1871
EN: A Capitulation
Premiered: Unperformed
NOTES: A farce based on the siege of Paris, 1870. Wagner unsuccessfully asked Hans Richter to set it to music

TITLE: Parsifal, 1877ÔÇô82
EN: Parsifal
Premiered: 26 July 1882 Bayreuth Festspielhaus
NOTES: Under an agreement between Wagner and King Ludwig, Parsifal was only to be performed at Bayreuth, “never desecrated by contact with any profane stage”