Richard Wagner - German Composer

Richard Wagner is most famous for his work Ring of the Nibelungen, a complex and stirring musical composition. Wagner lived from 1813 to 1883.

Wagner was precocious from the start, showing his talents in art, music and literature early on. By 1832 he had a symphony performed and in 1833 the Wurzburg Theater appointed him chorus master. He had numerous problems with creditors as he built his career, but in 1842 the success of his Rienzi opera settled him as a composer of renown.

Always drawn to causes and revolutions, Wagner's passions showed themselves in his work. He was exiled from Germany for over ten years for these reasons. Retreating to Zurich, he wrote strongly anti-Jewish pieces.

Wagner divorced and then remarried, and poured his heart into a large work that brought out the strong, ancient German myths - the Nibelungen series. The first two parts were performed in 1869 and 1870 but Wanger wanted a gorgeous opera house to be built before the entire series was shown to the world.

King Ludwig II of Bavaria believed in Wagner and in 1876 the total opera was shown in all of its glory, in a new building in Bayeruth. It is considered one of the finest operas in the world for its many layers of meaning and intricate use of music. It was an immediate success but the undertaking financially ruined Wagner.

Wagner worked on Parsifal before dying in 1883. While Wagner is remembered for the amazing brilliance of his Ring series, he is equally remembered for his viscious attacks on Jews and his passionate writings and music which he wrote to persecute them.

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