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Richard Wagner Program Notes and Sheet Music

Richard Wagner (May 22, 1813 – February 13, 1883) was a German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor who is chiefly known for his operas. Unlike most opera composers, Wagner wrote both the libretto and the music for each of his stage works.

Wagner was born in Leipzig, Germany. He showed an early aptitude for music, and he began composing at a young age. He was influenced by the music of Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Carl Maria von Weber.

In 1833, Wagner moved to Dresden, where he worked as a conductor. He married Minna Planer in 1836. The couple had two children, but their marriage was often troubled.

In 1848, Wagner was involved in the failed revolution in Dresden. He was forced to flee to Switzerland, where he lived in exile for many years. During his exile, Wagner wrote some of his most famous operas, including Der fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman), Tannhäuser, and Lohengrin.

In 1864, Wagner was invited to Bayreuth, Germany, where he was given the opportunity to build his own opera house. The Festspielhaus, as it was called, was inaugurated in 1876 with the premiere of Der Ring des Nibelungen, Wagner's four-opera cycle.

Wagner died in Venice, Italy, in 1883. He is buried in Bayreuth, where his operas are still performed today.

Wagner was a controversial figure during his lifetime. He was accused of being anti-Semitic and of promoting German nationalism. However, his music has had a lasting influence on Western culture. His operas are known for their complex plots, their beautiful melodies, and their use of leitmotifs, or recurring themes. Wagner is considered one of the most important composers of the Romantic period.

    Wagner Richard (1813-1883)      
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