Agnes Mathilde Wesendonck (née Luckemeyer; 23 December 1828 –31 August 1902) was a German poet and author. The words of five of her verses were the basis of her friend Richard Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder . He may have been her paramour.
Agnes Mathilde Luckemeyer was born in Elberfeld (now part of Wuppertal) in the Rhineland of Germany in 1828. In 1848she married the silk merchant Otto Wesendonck (sometimes erroneously seen as von Wesendonck). Otto was a great admirer of Wagner's music, and after he and Mathilde met the composer in Zurich in 1852, he placed a cottage on his estate at Wagner's disposal. By 1857, Wagner had become infatuated with Mathilde. It is not known whether she returned his affections to the same degree, or if the affair - if there was one - was ever consummated. Nevertheless, the episode inspired Wagner to put aside his work on Der Ring des Nibelungen (which would not be resumed for the next twelve years) and begin work on Tristan und Isolde .
In 1858, Wagner's wife Minna intercepted a romantic letter from Wagner to Mathilde. After the resulting confrontation, Wagner left Zürich alone, for Venice. Minna went to Dresden to stay with her family. She wrote to Mathilde before departing for Dresden:
"I must tell you with a bleeding heart that you have succeeded in separating my husband from me after nearly twenty-two years of marriage. May this noble deed contribute to your peace of mind, to your happiness."
In her autobiographical reminiscences Mathilde later wrote about Wagner's stay in Zürich, but made no mention of troubles with Minna.
In 1866 Mathilde met with Johannes Brahms in Zürich and enabled him to study some of Wagner's manuscripts.
Mathilde Wesendonck died in Altmünster (Austria) in 1902, and she is buried at the Alter Friedhof with the Wesendonck family in Bonn, Germany.
Mathilde Wesendonck was portrayed by Valentina Cortese in the 1955 film Magic Fire , and by Marthe Keller in the 1983 film Wagner .
Her legacy as assumed lover of Richard Wagner lives on with reference to her in Rhett Miller's song Our Love from the album The Instigator .
Tristan und Isolde, WWV 90, is an opera in three acts by Richard Wagner to a German libretto by the composer, based largely on the 12th-century romance Tristan and Iseult by Gottfried von Strassburg. It was composed between 1857 and 1859 and premiered at the Königliches Hoftheater und Nationaltheater in Munich on 10 June 1865 with Hans von Bülow conducting. Wagner referred to the work not as an opera, but called it "eine Handlung".
Felix Josef von Mottl was an Austrian conductor and composer. He was regarded as one of the most brilliant conductors of his day. He composed three operas, of which Agnes Bernauer was the most successful, as well as a string quartet and numerous songs and other music. His orchestration of Richard Wagner's "Wesendonck Lieder" is still the most commonly performed version. He was also a teacher, and his pupils included Ernest van Dyck and Wilhelm Petersen.
Wesendonck Lieder, WWV 91, is the common name of a set of five songs for female voice and piano by Richard Wagner, Fünf Gedichte für eine Frauenstimme. He set five poems by Mathilde Wesendonck while he was working on his opera Tristan und Isolde. The songs, together with the Siegfried Idyll, are the two non-operatic works by Wagner most regularly performed.
Max Herbert Eulenberg (1876–1949), was a German poet and author born in Cologne-Mülheim, Germany. He was married from 1904 to Hedda Eulenberg.
Peter Rühmkorf was a German writer who significantly influenced German post-war literature.
Wagner is a 1983 television miniseries on the life of Richard Wagner with Richard Burton in the title role. It was directed by Tony Palmer and written by Charles Wood. The film was later released on DVD as a ten-part miniseries.
Johanna Wolff, née Kielich was a popular German writer.
Christine Wilhelmine "Minna" Planer 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.
The Rieterpark is a park in central Zurich, Switzerland. Richard Wagner lived at Villa Wesendonck in Reiterpark from 1849 to 1858 where he worked on Tristan.
Gottlieb Konrad Pfeffel was a French-German writer and translator from the Pfeffel family. His texts were put to music by Ludwig van Beethoven, Joseph Haydn and Franz Schubert. He is sometimes also known as Amédée or Théophile Conrad Pfeffel, which is the French translation of Gottlieb ("Godlove").
Jakob Stutz (1801–1877) was a Swiss writer.
Gisela Kraft was a German author and poet. She also undertook extensive work as a literary translator from Turkish to German.
Melanie Diener is a German operatic and concert soprano who appeared at major European opera houses and festivals. She appeared as Elsa in Wagner's Lohengrin at the Bayreuth Festival, among others
Christiane Iven is a German lied, concert and opera singer as well as a vocal teacher at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München.
Helena Forti was a dramatic soprano active 1906 – 1924, closely associated with the Dresden royal court opera, known for her beauty, voice and strong stage presence. She sang all Wagner’s opera heroines, in Dresden, Bayreuth and internationally. Other repertoire included the title role in Verdi’s Aida, Santuzza in Cavalleria and contemporary works like Marietta in Korngold’s Die tote Stadt. She created the role of Mytocle in Eugen d’Albert’s opera Die toten Augen. Her Sieglinde in Die Walküre in Braunschweig was described by the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik as “Equally endowed with youth, beauty and vocal means... (Forti) immerses herself so intensely in her role that one believes the transformation of the virgin-Goddess into a human form.” After retiring from singing she taught voice and acting in Gera, Düsseldorf and Vienna. She died in Vienna, where she lived with her stage director and Intendant husband, Walter Bruno Iltz.
Ilma Rakusa is a Swiss writer and translator. She translates French, Russian, Serbo-Croatian and Hungarian into German.
Anna Goldmann Hirschler-Forstenheim was an Austrian writer and poet.
Adelheid Karoline Wilhelmine Julie von Stolterfoth was a German poet.
Agnes Charlotte Gude was a Norwegian watercolorist and illustrator.
Sidonie Josepha Grünwald-Zerkowitz was an Austro-Hungarian writer, poet, translator, educator, and fashion designer.