Wagner – A Restless Genius
The lecture will be held in English with an audio-visual presentation on the life and work of Richard Wagner.
Special attention will be paid to Wagner’s four-opera cycle “Der Ring des Nibelungen” (“The Ring of the
Nibelung”) which is currently performed at the Opéra Bastille in Paris.
Wilhelm Richard Wagner (1813 –1883) was a German composer, conductor, theatre director and essayist, primarily known for his operas (or “music dramas”, as they were later called). Wagner’s compositions are notable for their complex texture, rich harmonies and orchestration, and the elaborate use of leitmotifs: musical themes associated with individual characters, places, ideas or plot elements. Unlike most other opera composers, Wagner wrote both the music and libretto for every one of his stage works. Wagner transformed operatic thought through the synthesis of all the poetic, visual, musical and dramatic arts, thus creating his concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk (“total work of art”). Wagner’s influence spread beyond music into philosophy, literature, the visual arts and theatre. He had his own opera house built, the Bayreuth Festspielhaus, which contained many novel design features. It is here that his most important stage works continue to be performed today in an annual festival run by his descendants. His pugnacious personality and often outspoken views on music, politics and society made him a controversial figure during his life.