Richard Wagner

Biography

Born: May 22, 1813; Germany   Died: Feb 13, 1883; Italy   Period: Romantic
Richard Wagner was one of the most revolutionary figures in the history of music, a composer who made pivotal contributions to the development of harmony and musical drama that reverberate even today. Indeed, though Wagner occasionally produced successful music written on a relatively modest scale, opera -- the bigger, the better -- was clearly his milieu, and his aesthetic is perhaps the most grandiose that Western music has ever known. Early in Read more his career, Wagner learned both the elements and the practical, political realities of his craft by writing a handful of operas which were unenthusiastically, even angrily, received. Beginning with Rienzi (1838-40) and The Flying Dutchman (1841), however, he enjoyed a string of successes that propelled him to immortality and changed the face of music. His monumental Ring cycle of four operas -- Das Rheingold (1853-54), Die Walküre (1854-56), Siegfried (1856-71) and Götterdämmerung (1869-74) -- remains the most ambitious and influential contribution by any composer to the opera literature. Tristan and Isolde (1857-59) is perhaps the most representative example of Wagner's musical style, which is characterized by a high degree of chromaticism, a restless, searching tonal instability, lush harmonies, and the association of specific musical elements (known as leitmotifs, the flexible manipulation of which is one of the glories of Wagner's music) with certain characters and plot points. Wagner wrote text as well as music for all his operas, which he preferred to call "music dramas."

Wagner's life matched his music for sheer drama. Born in Leipzig on May 22, 1813, he began in the early 1830s to write prolifically on music and the arts in general; over his whole career, his music would to some degree serve to demonstrate his aesthetic theories. He often worked as a conductor in his early years; a conducting engagement took him to Riga, Latvia, in 1837, but he fled the country in the middle of the night two years later to elude creditors. Wagner as a young man had some sympathy with the revolutionary movements of the middle nineteenth century (and even the Ring cycle contains a distinct anti-materialist and vaguely socialist drift); in the Dresden uprisings of 1849 he apparently took up arms, and he had to leave Germany when the police restored order. Settling in Zurich, Switzerland, he wrote little for some years but evolved the intellectual framework for his towering mature masterpieces. Wagner returned to Germany in 1864 under the protection and patronage of King Ludwig II of Bavaria; it was in Bayreuth, near Munich, that he undertook the construction of an opera house (completed in 1876) built to his personal specifications and suited to the massive fusion of music, staging, text, and scene design that his later operas entailed. Bayreuth became something of a shrine for the fanatical Wagnerites who carried the torch after his death; it remains the goal of many a pilgrimage today. His attitude toward Jews was deeply ambivalent (he believed, mistakenly, that his stepfather was Jewish), but some of his writings contain anti-Semitic elements that have aroused considerable controversy among opera lovers, especially in view of Adolf Hitler's apparent predilection for the composer's music. Read less

Wagner: Parsifal / Kaufmann, Pape, Gatti, Met Opera [Blu-ray]
Release Date: 04/01/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 372572   Number of Discs: 1
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Wagner: Parsifal / Kaufmann, Pape, Gatti, Met
Release Date: 04/01/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 372558   Number of Discs: 2
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Wagner, Strauss / Richard Hickox, Jard Van Nes, Et Al
Release Date: 06/21/2005   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 10313   Number of Discs: 1
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Opera In English - Wagner: The Ring Cycle / Goodall, Et Al
Release Date: 07/24/2001   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 3065   Number of Discs: 16
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Opera In English - Wagner: Twilight Of The Gods / Goodall
Release Date: 07/24/2001   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 3060   Number of Discs: 5
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Work: Lohengrin: Elsa's Dream

Browse 1-25 of 95 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Modest Prima Donna
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1232 Release Date: 07/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Giacomo Puccini,  Alfredo Catalani,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Victoria de los Angeles,  Giannella Borelli,  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Gerald Moore  ... 
    Conductor:  Anatole Fistoulari,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  Giuseppe Morelli,  Walter Susskind  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Orchestra,  Paris Opera Orchestra
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  • 2.
    Great Wagner Voices
    Label: Br Klassik   Catalog: 900310 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Ingrid Bjoner,  Elisabeth Grümmer,  Martina Arroyo,  Rudolf Schock  ... 
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  • 3.
    Great Wagner Singers [6-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001826302 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Hans Hotter,  Sieglinde Wagner,  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Gundula Janowitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Heinrich Hollreiser,  Wilhelm Pitz,  Ferdinand Leitner,  Richard Kraus  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus  ... 
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  • 4.
    The Britannic Organ, Vol. 5: Richard Wagner On Welte
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 844 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Kurt Grosse,  Clarence Eddy,  Emil Paur,  Samuel Atkinson Baldwin  ... 
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  • 5.
    Essential Opera Divas
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 234522 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Arleen Augér,  Patrizia Ciofi,  Véronique Gens,  Jessye Norman  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox,  Fabio Biondi,  Christophe Rousset,  Klaus Tennstedt  ... 
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  • 6.
    The Edison Legacy Vol. 2
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 53014 Release Date: 12/18/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Pietro Mascagni,  Charles Gounod,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Adelina Agostinelli,  Carlo Albani,  Oreste Benedetti,  Celestina Boninsegna  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
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  • 7.
    The Essential Wagner
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 973399 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Siegfried Jerusalem,  Peter Haage,  Nicolai Gedda,  Reiner Goldberg  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert Heger,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Klaus Tennstedt,  Bernard Haitink  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Bavarian State Opera Chorus,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 8.
    Wagner: Orchestral Excerpts, Vol. 2 / Gerard Schwarz, Seattle Symphony
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572768 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Alessandra Marc
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seattle Symphony Orchestra
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  • 9.
    Voices Of German Opera
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 40497 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Heinrich Marschner  ... 
    Performer:  Natalie Dessay,  Edda Moser,  Kurt Moll,  Walter Berry  ... 
    Conductor:  Louis Langrée,  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Berislav Klobucar,  Rudolf Moralt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment,  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Berlin Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 10.
    Kirsten Flagstad Edition - The Decca Recitals
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001683102 Release Date: 05/29/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Richard Wagner,  Jean Sibelius,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  Kirsten Flagstad,  Sigvart Fotland,  Edwin McArthur
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Hans Knappertsbusch,  Oivin Fjeldstad,  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 11.
    The Very Best Of Victoria De Los Angeles
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 679002 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Pietro Mascagni,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Alfredo Catalani  ... 
    Performer:  Victoria de los Angeles,  Jussi Björling,  Carlo del Monte,  Gerald Moore  ... 
    Conductor:  Gabriele Santini,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Tullio Serafin,  Giuseppe Morelli  ... 
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  • 12.
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 828662 Release Date: 11/01/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Henry Purcell,  Jean-Philippe Rameau  ... 
    Performer:  Nancy Argenta,  Crispian Steele-Perkins,  Gudrun Jahn,  Barbara Hendricks  ... 
    Conductor:  Gyorgy Fischer,  Kirk Trevor,  Louis Langrée,  Bernard Haitink  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Paris National Opera Orchestra  ... 
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  • 13.
    Best Soprano Arias 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 80442 Release Date: 11/01/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Henry Purcell,  Jean-Philippe Rameau  ... 
    Performer:  Nancy Argenta,  Crispian Steele-Perkins,  Gudrun Jahn,  Barbara Hendricks  ... 
    Conductor:  Gyorgy Fischer,  Kirk Trevor,  Louis Langrée,  Bernard Haitink  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Paris National Opera Orchestra  ... 
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  • 14.
    Dokumente Einer Sangerkarriere: Maud Cunitz
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 93478 Release Date: 09/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Richard Wagner,  Carl Maria von Weber
    Performer:  Maud Cunitz
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  • 15.
    Wagner, Verdi, Beethoven, Weber / Gre Brouwenstijn
    Label: Newton Classics   Catalog: 8802061 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Richard Wagner,  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Gré Brouwenstijn
    Conductor:  Willem van Otterloo,  Rudolf Moralt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hague Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 16.
    Berlin Opera Night / Nagano, Berlin Deutsche Opera
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2053589 Release Date: 04/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giacomo Puccini,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Galouzine,  Anne Schwanewilms,  Adrianne Pieczonka,  Angelika Kirchschlager  ... 
    Conductor:  Kent Nagano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
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  • 17.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Margaret Sheridan
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89745 Release Date: 03/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Umberto Giordano,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Margaret Burke Sheridan,  Renato Zanelli,  Aureliano Pertile,  Lionello Cecil  ... 
    Conductor:  Mr. Blois,  Carlo Sabajno,  Sir Eugene Goossens
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
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  • 18.
    Transfiguration - Wagner, Strauss / Camilla Nylund
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 1168-2 Release Date: 01/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Camilla Nylund
    Conductor:  Hannu Lintu
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 19.
    Wagner: Lohengrin Highlights / Solti, Domingo, Norman, Fischer-Dieskau
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 425530 Release Date: 12/17/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Jessye Norman,  Eva Randová,  Siegmund Nimsgern  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 20.
    Margarete Teschemacher Vol 1 - Recordings 1932-1943
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10244 Release Date: 11/23/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Albert Lortzing,  Bedrich Smetana,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Margarete Teschemacher,  Marcel Wittrisch,  Maria Cebotari,  Mathieu Ahlersmeyer  ... 
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  • 21.
    50 Best Opera
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 57531 Release Date: 06/29/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss,  Gustave Charpentier  ... 
    Performer:  Cornelius Hauptmann,  Margareta Lilowa,  Carolyn Watkinson,  Ursula Kunz  ... 
    Conductor:  Roger Norrington,  Bernard Haitink,  Rafael Kubelik,  Peter Schneider  ... 
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  • 22.
    Wagner /  Schnitzer, Seiffert, Schirmer, Munich Radio Orchestra
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 760091 Release Date: 01/26/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Petra Maria Schnitzer,  Peter Seiffert
    Conductor:  Ulf Schirmer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Orchestra
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  • 23.
    Passione - Opera For Lovers
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 149522 Release Date: 01/12/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Otto Nicolai,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Sylvia Geszty,  Evelyn Lear,  Thomas Stewart,  Hanne-Lore Kuhse  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur,  Heinz Fricke,  Otmar Suitner,  Siegfried Kurz  ... 
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  • 24.
    The Flagstad Recitals Vol 3 / Flagstad, Knappertsbusch, Solti, Boult
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4801796 Release Date: 11/17/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Kirsten Flagstad,  Egil Nordsjo
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Hans Knappertsbusch,  Sir Georg Solti,  Oivin Fjeldstad
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Norwegian State Radio Orchestra
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  • 25.
    Welte-mignon Piano Vol 2 - Hotel Waldhaus Sils-maria
    Label: Tudor Records   Catalog: 7111 Release Date: 07/28/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sydney Smith,  Richard Wagner,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Carl Schmidt,  Felix Mottl,  Arthur Friedheim,  David Schor  ... 
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