“Goodbye” Richard Wagner – Died 13 February 1883

Wilhelm Richard Wagner (22 May 1813 – 13 February 1883) was a German composer, theatre director and conductor who is primarily known for his operas . Unlike most 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).

Wagner had his own opera house built, the Bayreuth Festspielhaus. It was here that  the Ring and Parsifal received their premieres and where his most important works continue to be performed in an annual festival run by his descendants

Wagner’s life was beset by turbulent love affairs, poverty and creditors. His controversial writings have attracted much criticism, particularly in relation to his anti-semitic sentiments.

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