Siegfried Helferich Richard Wagner (6 June 1869 –4 August 1930) was a German composer and conductor, the son of Richard Wagner. He was an opera composer and the artistic director of the Bayreuth Festival from 1908 to 1930.
Siegfried Wagner was born in 1869 to Richard Wagner and his future wife Cosima (née Liszt), at Tribschen on Lake Lucerne in Switzerland. Through his mother, he was a grandson of Franz Liszt, from whom he received some instruction in harmony.
Some youthful compositions date from about 1882. After he completed his secondary education in 1889, he studied with Wagner's assistant Engelbert Humperdinck, but was more strongly drawn to a career as an architect and studied architecture in Berlin and Karlsruhe.
In 1892 he undertook a trip to Asia with a friend, the English composer Clement Harris. During the voyage he decided to abandon architecture and commit himself to music. Reputedly, it was also Harris who first aroused his homoerotic impulses.While on board, he sketched his first official work, the symphonic poem Sehnsucht, inspired by the poem of the same name by Friedrich Schiller. This piece was not completed until just before the concert in which Wagner conducted it in London on 6 June 1895. Though his works are numerous, none entered the standard repertory.
He made his conducting debut as an assistant conductor at Bayreuth in 1894; in 1896 he became associate conductor, sharing responsibility for conducting the Ring Cycle with Felix Mottl and Hans Richter, who had conducted its premiere 20 years earlier. In 1908 he took over as Artistic Director of the Bayreuth Festival in succession to his mother, Cosima.
Wagner was bisexual.For years, his mother urged him to marry and provide the Wagner dynasty with heirs, but he fought off her increasingly desperate urgings.
Around 1913, pressure on him increased due to the Harden–Eulenburg affair (1907–1909), in which the journalist Maximilian Harden accused several public figures, most notably Philipp, Prince of Eulenburg, a friend of Kaiser Wilhelm II, of homosexuality. In this climate, the family found it suitable to arrange a marriage with a 17-year-old Englishwoman, Winifred Klindworth, and at the Bayreuth Festival of 1914 she was introduced to the then-45-year-old Wagner. The two married on 22 September 1915.
The couple had four children:
Though the marriage provided for the dynastic succession, the hope that it would also bring an end to his homosexual encounters and the associated costly scandals was disappointed, as Wagner remained sexually active with other men.
Peter P. Pachl, one of Siegfried's biographers, asserted that Siegfried had sired an illegitimate son, Walter Aign (1901–1977); several recent authors, such as Frederic Spotts and Brigitte Hamann, have taken it up.
Wagner died in Bayreuth in 1930 aged 61, having outlived his mother by only four months. Since his two sons were still only adolescents, he was succeeded at the helm of the Bayreuth Festival by his widow Winifred.
See List of operas by Siegfried Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner 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. Initially establishing his reputation as a composer of works in the romantic vein of Carl Maria von Weber and Giacomo Meyerbeer, Wagner revolutionised opera through his concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk, by which he sought to synthesise the poetic, visual, musical and dramatic arts, with music subsidiary to drama. He described this vision in a series of essays published between 1849 and 1852. Wagner realised these ideas most fully in the first half of the four-opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen.
Das Rheingold, WWV 86A, is the first of the four music dramas that constitute Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen,. It was performed, as a single opera, at the National Theatre Munich on 22 September 1869, and received its first performance as part of the Ring cycle at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus, on 13 August 1876.
Die Walküre, WWV 86B, is the second of the four music dramas that constitute Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. It was performed, as a single opera, at the National Theatre Munich on 26 June 1870, and received its first performance as part of the Ring cycle at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus on 14 August 1876.
Winifred Marjorie Wagner was the English-born wife of Siegfried Wagner, the son of Richard Wagner, and ran the Bayreuth Festival after her husband's death in 1930 until the end of World War II in 1945. She was a friend and supporter of Adolf Hitler, himself a Wagner enthusiast, and she and Hitler maintained a regular correspondence.
The Bayreuth Festival is a music festival held annually in Bayreuth, Germany, at which performances of operas by the 19th-century German composer Richard Wagner are presented. Wagner himself conceived and promoted the idea of a special festival to showcase his own works, in particular his monumental cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen and Parsifal.
Francesca Gaetana Cosima Wagner was the daughter of the Hungarian composer and pianist Franz Liszt and Franco-German romantic author Marie d'Agoult. She became the second wife of the German composer Richard Wagner, and with him founded the Bayreuth Festival as a showcase for his stage works; after his death she devoted the rest of her life to the promotion of his music and philosophy. Commentators have recognised Cosima as the principal inspiration for Wagner's later works, particularly Parsifal.
The Bayreuth Circle was a name originally applied by some writers to devotees of Richard Wagner's music who attended and supported the annual Bayreuth Festival in the later 19th and early twentieth centuries. As some of these devotees espoused nationalistic German politics, and some of them were supporters of Adolf Hitler from the 1920s onwards, this group of people has been associated by some writers with the rise of Nazism.
August Friedrich Martin Klughardt was a German composer and conductor.
Karl Eduard Maria Elmendorff was a German opera conductor.
François Antoine Habeneck was a French classical violinist and conductor.
Friedelind Wagner was the elder daughter of German opera composer Siegfried Wagner and his English wife, Winifred Williams and the granddaughter of the composer Richard Wagner. She was also the great-granddaughter of the composer Franz Liszt.
The German composer Richard Wagner was a controversial figure during his lifetime, and has continued to be so after his death. Even today he is associated in the minds of many with Nazism and his operas are often thought to extol the virtues of German nationalism. The writer and Wagner scholar Bryan Magee has written:
I sometimes think there are two Wagners in our culture, almost unrecognizably different from one another: the Wagner possessed by those who know his work, and the Wagner imagined by those who know him only by name and reputation.
Peter Sandor Erős was a Hungarian-American conductor.
Wahnfried was the name given by Richard Wagner to his villa in Bayreuth. The name is a German compound of Wahn and Fried(e).
Clement Hugh Gilbert Harris was an English pianist and composer who studied in Germany and died fighting in the Greco-Turkish War of 1897.
Benjamin Johnson Lang was an American conductor, pianist, organist, teacher and composer. He introduced a large amount of music to American audiences, including the world premiere of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, which he conducted in Boston in 1875.
Isolde Josefa Ludovika Beidler was the first child of the composer Richard Wagner and his wife, who is generally known as Cosima Wagner.
Emil Preetorius was a German illustrator and graphic artist. He is considered one of the most important stage designers of the first half of the 20th century.
The Bayreuth premiere cast of Parsifal lists the contributors to the new productions of Richard Wagner's inaugural stage play Parsifal, including the premiere, which took place on 26 July 1882 at the Bayreuth Festival.