Richard Wagner (1813 - 1888)

Controversial Composer Richard Wagner Wagner

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Richard Wagner is mostly known for his operas, many of them visionary, moving and powerful.

Wagner always aimed to create comprehensive works of art ('Gesamtkunstwerk') where a combination of poetry, drama, music and painting resulted in an overwhelming performance to touch the audience's hearts.

Wagner is famous for establishing the idea of a leitmotiv: each character has a distinctive sound or melody which is reworked and interwoven into all his stage appearances.

Many of his operas are concerned with love, tragedy and death. His characters are often inspired by German folklore and myth. The famous Ring Cycle retells the traditional saga of the Nibelung. It consists of four operas: 'The Rhinegold', 'The Valkyrie', 'Siegfried' and 'Gotterdämmerung' (Twilight of Gods).

Other works are 'The Flying Dutchman' ('Der fliegende Holländer'), 'Tannhauser', 'Lohengrin' and 'Tristan and Isolde'.