Opera Scotland

Richard Wagner Suggest updates

Wilhelm Richard Wagner

Born Leipzig, 22 May 1813.

Died Venice, 13 February 1883.

German composer.

It is difficult to underestimate the contribution made by Wagner in transforming the art of music drama and attitudes to it in the nineteenth century and ever since. In his determination to produce works of unified quality, he was also one of the first to write his own texts.

There is a notable leap forward in style between Lohengrin and Tristan which can be explained by the fact that after Lohengrin Wagner began to compose the Ring cycle, completing Das RheingoldDie Walküre and much of Siegfried (to the end of the second act). He then composed Tristan and Die Meistersinger before resuming work on the Ring with the final act of Siegfried, followed by Götterdämmerung.

Most of his plots were taken from Germanic or Norse mythology. However Tristan und Isolde has a strong Celtic connection, with its three acts set on the Irish Sea, in Cornwall and finally in Brittany. The little-known early work Das Liebesverbot (The Love Ban) is based on Shakespeare's Measure for Measure. If we are looking for any Scottish connection in his work we struggle a bit, but Der fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman) as originally drafted was to take place in Scotland, but he translated it to Norway at a late stage in the development.

Operas performed in Scotland are shown in bold:

01   Die Feen (1834; prod Munich 1888) (cpsr)

02   Das Liebesverbot, oder Die Novize von Palermo (Magdeburg 1836) (cpsr)

03   Rienzi, der letzte der Tribunen (Dresden 1842) (cpsr)

04   Der fliegende Holländer (Dresden 1843; rev 1845, 1852, 1860) (cpsr)

05   Tannhäuser und der Sangerkrieg auf Wartburg (Dresden 1845, rev Paris 1861) (cpsr)

06   Lohengrin (Weimar 1850) (cpsr)

07   Tristan und Isolde (Munich 1865) (cpsr)

08   Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg(Munich 1868) (cpsr)

09  Das Rheingold (Munich 1869) (cpsr)                                                                                  

10   Die Walküre (Munich 1870) (cpsr)

11   Siegfried (Bayreuth 1876) (cpsr)

12   Götterdämmerung (Bayreuth 1876) (cpsr)                                                                  

13   Parsifal (Bayreuth 1882) (cpsr)

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