Who married Richard Wagner?

Cosima Wagner married Richard Wagner .

Minna Planer married Richard Wagner .

Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner

Wilhelm Richard Wagner ( VAHG-nər, 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 mature 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).

His compositions, particularly those of his later period, are notable for their complex textures, rich harmonies and orchestration, and the elaborate use of leitmotifs—musical phrases associated with individual characters, places, ideas, or plot elements. His advances in musical language, such as extreme chromaticism and quickly shifting tonal centres, greatly influenced the development of classical music. His Tristan und Isolde is sometimes described as marking the start of modern music.

Wagner had his own opera house built, the Bayreuth Festspielhaus, which embodied many novel design features. The Ring and Parsifal were premiered here and his most important stage works continue to be performed at the annual Bayreuth Festival, run by his descendants. His thoughts on the relative contributions of music and drama in opera were to change again, and he reintroduced some traditional forms into his last few stage works, including Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (The Mastersingers of Nuremberg).

Until his final years, Wagner's life was characterised by political exile, turbulent love affairs, poverty and repeated flight from his creditors. His controversial writings on music, drama and politics have attracted extensive comment, notably, since the late 20th century, where they express antisemitic sentiments. The effect of his ideas can be traced in many of the arts throughout the 20th century; his influence spread beyond composition into conducting, philosophy, literature, the visual arts and theatre.

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Cosima Wagner

Cosima Wagner

Cosima Wagner (born Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt; 24 December 1837 – 1 April 1930) was the illegitimate daughter of the Hungarian pianist and composer Franz Liszt and Marie d'Agoult. She became the second wife of the German composer Richard Wagner, and with him founded the Bayreuth Festival as a showcase for his stage works; after his death she devoted the rest of her life to the promotion of his music and philosophy. Commentators have recognised Cosima as the principal inspiration for Wagner's later works, particularly Parsifal.

In 1857, after a childhood largely spent under the care of her grandmother and with governesses, Cosima married the conductor Hans von Bülow. Although the marriage produced two children, it was largely a loveless union, and in 1863 Cosima began a relationship with Wagner, who was 24 years her senior. She married him in 1870; after his death in 1883 she directed the Bayreuth Festival for more than 20 years, increasing its repertoire to form the Bayreuth canon of ten operas and establishing the festival as a major event in the world of musical theatre.

During her directorship, Cosima opposed theatrical innovations and adhered closely to Wagner's original productions of his works, an approach continued by her successors long after her retirement in 1907. She shared Wagner's convictions of German cultural and racial superiority, and under her influence, Bayreuth became increasingly identified with antisemitism. This was a defining aspect of Bayreuth for decades, into the Nazi era which closely followed her death in 1930. Thus, although she is widely perceived as the saviour of the festival, her legacy remains controversial.

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Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner
 
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Minna Planer

Minna Planer

Christine Wilhelmine "Minna" Planer (5 September 1809 – 25 January 1866) was a German actress and the first wife of composer Richard Wagner, to whom she was married for 30 years, although for the last 10 years they often lived apart. At an early age, she had an illegitimate daughter with a Royal Saxon Army officer, whom she raised as her own sister. After a stormy courtship, which involved infidelities on both sides, she married Richard Wagner in 1836.

In the early years Minna was the main wage earner in the household, having a successful career as a dramatic heroine who drew both applause for her abilities on stage and admirers for her beauty. She shared in many of the escapades of Wagner's life, including a perilous sea voyage to London, poverty in Paris, and following him around Europe after his involvement in the Dresden uprising of 1849, which led to his banishment from Germany.

After Wagner's affair with Mathilde Wesendonck in 1857, Minna mostly lived apart from him. In later years she developed a heart condition which ultimately claimed her life.

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Siblings of Richard Wagner and their spouses: