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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
Richard Wagner - Great Recordings
Release Date: 02/26/2013   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 543504   Number of Discs: 40
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Wagner at The Met
Release Date: 04/09/2013   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 542717   Number of Discs: 25
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Toscanini Conducts Wagner
Release Date: 04/30/2013   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 541193   Number of Discs: 5
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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: Parsifal / Pape, Denoke, Finley, Pappano, Royal Opera
Release Date: 11/18/2014   Label: Opus Arte  
Catalog: 1158   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Tannhäuser: Dich, teure Halle

Browse 1-25 of 109 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Kiri Te Kanawa - Opera Arias
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 2564635295 Release Date: 02/11/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Gustave Charpentier,  Claude Debussy,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Roger Vignoles,  Andrew Schulman
    Conductor:  Kent Nagano,  Jeffrey Tate,  Julius Rudel,  Myung-Whun Chung
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon Opera Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 2.
    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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  • 3.
    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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  • 4.
    Electrola Recitals - Oper & Lied / Edda Moser [9-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 282812 Release Date: 05/21/2013   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Hans Pfitzner,  Robert Schumann,  Hugo Wolf  ... 
    Performer:  Erik Werba,  Edda Moser,  Christoph Eschenbach,  Peter Schreier  ... 
    Conductor:  Peter Schneider,  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt,  Eugen Jochum
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Orchestra,  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle  ... 
    CD: $32.49
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  • 5.
    Montserrat Caballe - The Diva
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 548834 Release Date: 05/07/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Performer:  Montserrat Caballé,  Maya Sunara,  Corinna Vozza,  Sherrill Milnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly,  Anton Guadagno,  Carlo Felice Cillario,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra London,  RCA Italian Opera Orchestra,  RCA Italian Opera Chorus  ... 
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  • 6.
    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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  • 7.
    Singers Of The Century - 40 Greats Of  The 20th Century
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 2078 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Pietro Mascagni,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Ettore Bastianini,  Giuseppe Taddei,  Richard Tucker,  Mario Del Monaco  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    The Essential Wagner
    Label: Warner 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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  • 10.
    Voices Of German Opera
    Label: Warner 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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  • 11.
    The Very Best Of Jessye Norman
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 21725 Release Date: 07/17/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Franz Schubert,  Johannes Brahms,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Performer:  Jessye Norman,  Irwin Gage,  Anne Murray,  Dale Duesing  ... 
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt,  Sylvain Cambreling,  Riccardo Muti,  Michel Plasson
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  • 12.
    Best Of Wagner
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300345 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Fritz Wunderlich,  Els Bolkestein,  Hanne-Lore Kuhse,  Martin Ritzmann  ... 
    Conductor:  Franz Konwitschny,  Heinz Fricke,  Otmar Suitner,  Hiroshi Wakasugi  ... 
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  • 13.
    The Very Best Of Kiri Te Kanawa
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog:  6790072 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Francesco Cilèa,  Umberto Giordano,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Don Lusher,  Jim Hughes,  Laurie Holloway  ... 
    Conductor:  Myung-Whun Chung,  Jeffrey Tate,  Julius Rudel,  Bernard Haitink  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Abbey Road Ensemble,  Members of the National Philharmonic Orchestra Lon
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  • 14.
    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  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 15.
    Leontyne Price - The Complete Collection Of Operatic Recital Albums
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 794051 Release Date: 01/24/2012   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  George Gershwin,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Leontyne Price,  Laura Londi,  John W. Bubbles,  William Warfield  ... 
    Conductor:  Oliviero de Fabritiis,  Arturo Basile,  Erich Leinsdorf,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  RCA Italian Opera Orchestra  ... 
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  • 16.
    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  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 17.
    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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  • 18.
    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
    CD: $12.99
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  • 19.
    Caballe Sings Wagner
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 37294 Release Date: 02/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Montserrat Caballé
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 20.
    The Wagner Opera Experience
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 83449 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Jane Eaglen,  Rolando Villazón,  Felicity Palmer,  Peter Seiffert  ... 
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
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  • 21.
    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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  • 22.
    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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  • 23.
    Margarete Bäumer - Recordings 1930-1947
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10024 Release Date: 10/15/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Eugène d' Albert,  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Margarete Bäumer,  Werner Schupp,  Gerhard Hüsch,  Walter Kirchhoff
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  • 24.
    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  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 25.
    The Irresistible Karita Mattila
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 1171-2 Release Date: 04/27/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Thelonious Monk,  Erroll Garner,  Jerome Kern,  Frederick Loewe  ... 
    Performer:  Karita Mattila
    Conductor:  Kirmo Lintinen,  Pekka Savijoki,  Riku Niemi,  Jukka-Pekka Saraste
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  How Many Sisters Vocal Trio,  Fever Band Bandoneon,  Tapiola Sinfonietta  ... 
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