2.1 Brief biography of Richard Wagner 


Richard Wilhelm Wagner was a German composer and conductor, born on May 22, 1813, in Leipzig, Germany, and died on February 13, 1883, in Venice, Italy. Wagner is primarily known for his revolutionary contributions to the world of opera and his extensive musical legacy.


Wagner showed an early interest in music and pursued his studies at the University of Leipzig. Throughout his career, he experimented with various musical styles and engaged in the writing of theoretical essays ("Oper und Drama" or "Das Kunstwerk der Zukunft") that significantly influenced the musical aesthetics of his time. His theory and mission of Gesamtkunstwerk or "total work of art", sought to bring together the different arts as music and fiction, enhanced by dance and gesture, to be fully developed and on an equal basis, explains Ursula Rehn Wolfman in "Richard Wagner’s Concept of the ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ " (2013).

Regarding his musical work, Wagner composed a series of influential operas, including "Tristan und Isolde" "Der Ring des Nibelungen" and "Tannhäuser." He revolutionized German opera, breaking with traditional conventions and developing a musical technique that influenced later composers. Beatriu Traver (2023) explains that the opera Tristan and Isolde is a clear example of this. Wagner breaks the rules of harmony in this composition, emancipates chromaticism, unleashes atonality and lays the foundations for the 20th century music.The whole score is a glorious extended metaphor for unfulfilled desire, for the impossibility of satisfying desire in general and fulfilment in death, subjects that the operas that existed to date did not deal with. 


William Melton in "The Wagner tuba" (2008) explains, that Wagner's personal life was marked by his controversial character and tumultuous relationships. Due to his political opinions, he had to exile himself to Switzerland until 1870 when he was pardoned and able to return to Germany. His relationship with King Ludwig II of Bavaria provided the financial support needed to carry out his ambitious artistic projects such as "The Ring of the Nibelung."