Born:
May 22, 1813
Died:
February 13, 1883
Age:
69
Summary

Wilhelm Richard Wagner (/ˈvɑːɡnər/; German: [ˈʁɪçaʁt ˈvaːɡnɐ] (listen); 22 May 1813 – 13 February 1883) was a German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor who is chiefly known for his operas (or, as some of his later 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).

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Related Pictures
Franz Betz, who created the role of Hans Sachs in Die Meistersinger, and sang Wotan in the first complete Ring cycle
Franz Betz, who created the role of Hans Sachs in Die Meistersinger, and sang Wotan in the first complete Ring cycle
Portrait of Ludwig II of Bavaria about the time when he first met Wagner, by Ferdinand von Piloty, 1865
Portrait of Ludwig II of Bavaria about the time when he first met Wagner, by Ferdinand von Piloty, 1865
André Gill suggesting that Wagner's music was ear-splitting. Cover of L'Eclipse 18 April 1869
André Gill suggesting that Wagner's music was ear-splitting. Cover of L'Eclipse 18 April 1869
Portrait of Mathilde Wesendonck (1850) by Karl Ferdinand Sohn
Portrait of Mathilde Wesendonck (1850) by Karl Ferdinand Sohn
Wagner's birthplace, at 3, the Brühl, Leipzig
Wagner's birthplace, at 3, the Brühl, Leipzig
Brünnhilde the Valkyrie, as illustrated by Arthur Rackham (1910)
Brünnhilde the Valkyrie, as illustrated by Arthur Rackham (1910)
Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche
Caricature of Wagner by Karl Clic in the Viennese satirical magazine, Humoristische Blätter (1873). The exaggerated features refer to rumours of Wagner's Jewish ancestry.
Caricature of Wagner by Karl Clic in the Viennese satirical magazine, Humoristische Blätter (1873). The exaggerated features refer to rumours of Wagner's Jewish ancestry.
Opening of overture to Der fliegende Holländer in Wagner's hand and with his notes to the publisher
Opening of overture to Der fliegende Holländer in Wagner's hand and with his notes to the publisher
Wagner c. 1840, by Ernest Benedikt Kietz
Wagner c. 1840, by Ernest Benedikt Kietz
Eduard Hanslick
Eduard Hanslick
Wilhelmine "Minna" Planer (1835), by Alexander von Otterstedt
Wilhelmine "Minna" Planer (1835), by Alexander von Otterstedt
Wagner in Paris, 1861
Wagner in Paris, 1861
Warrant for the arrest of Richard Wagner, issued on 16 May 1849
Warrant for the arrest of Richard Wagner, issued on 16 May 1849
The Bayreuth Festspielhaus: photochrom print of c. 1895
The Bayreuth Festspielhaus: photochrom print of c. 1895
The Wagner grave in the Wahnfried garden; in 1977 Cosima's ashes were placed alongside Wagner's body
The Wagner grave in the Wahnfried garden; in 1977 Cosima's ashes were placed alongside Wagner's body
Leitmotif associated with the horn-call of the hero of Wagner's opera Siegfried
Leitmotif associated with the horn-call of the hero of Wagner's opera Siegfried
 
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