©Richard Wagner Museum Bayreuth

Pioneer of a new harmony: Richard Wagner

The Saxony composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883) is one of the most influential high Romantic composers. He is still remembered around the world as a genius who created monumental music dramas.

Wagner was born in Leipzig and began his music studies there in 1831. It's fascinating to explore the city in his footsteps although much of his youth was spent in Dresden. In 1843 he became kapellmeister at the court opera in Dresden and premiered several operas of his own. There are Wagner museums and memorials in Graupa near Dresden, where he stayed in the summer of 1846.

Richard Wagner had to flee Dresden after the May uprising of 1849 and he did not return until 1860. Four years later he met his most important patron, the 'fairytale' king, Ludwig II of Bavaria, in Munich, where four of his operas were premiered between 1865 and 1870. A monument and a memorial plaque commemorate Wagner's Munich years.

In 1872 Wagner had his own festival theatre built in Bayreuth, halfway between Munich and Dresden. His last operas Siegfried, Twilight of the Gods and Parsifal were all given their premiere in the Bayreuth theatre on the Green Hill. Haus Wahnfried, the villa that Wagner had built in Bayreuth for his family, is now the Wagner Museum.

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