Richard Wagner

Fun Facts

  • Wagner's step-father was a playwright, and Wagner acted in his plays as a child.

  • Wagner wasn't particularly interested in music until he realized that successful plays were set to music.

  • Wagner's first complete opera, Die Feen, wasn't performed until after his death.

  • Wagner wrote both the music and libretto for each of his stage works.

  • In her diary, Queen Victoria described Wagner as "short, very quiet, wears spectacles and has a very finely-developed forehead, a hooked nose & projecting chin."

  • Wagner's children, Eva and Siegfried, were named after characters in his operas.

  • Facing a stormy sea voyage while fleeing creditors inspired Wagner's opera, The Flying Dutchman.

  • While Wagner was in exile for his revolutionary activities, his friend Franz Liszt staged and conducted his opera Lohengrin for him.

  • It took Wagner twenty-six years to complete the four operas in his Ring Cycle

  • Wagner wrote an autobiography, but his wife Cosima destroyed all the copies she could find after his death.

  • Attracted to luxury, Wagner liked perfumes, silks, and satins. 

  • Wagner built his own opera house in Bayreuth.

More Resources

Fun Facts

Check out our collection of interesting and (some) little known facts about Wagner.

Biography

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