A Chronology of Richard Wagner's Life
1839 - 1864
||Loses Riga post. Furtive flight
to Paris to escape creditors, July-Aug. Idea for Flying Dutchman
occurs to him on trip. Begins two and a half years residence in
||First version of Faust Overture,
Jan. Offers plot of Flying Dutchman to Paris Opèra. Meets
Liszt. Finishes Rienzi, imprisoned for debts, Nov.
||Receives 500 francs for libretto,
Le Vaisseau Fantôme, which is set to music by Pierre Dietsch.
Wagner expands and finishes it as his Flying Dutchman,
||Leaves Paris for Dresden. Première
of Rienzi in Dresden, Oct. 20, beginning of his fame.
||Première of Flying Dutchman,
Dresden, Jan. 2. Appointed Royal Kapellmeister at Dresden, Feb.
Finishes Tannhäuser poem, May, and begins composition, July.
||Niece Johanna engaged by Dresden
Theater, July. He composes and performs a musical greeting to the
King of Saxony, Aug. Conducts funeral oration for reburial of Carl
Maria von Weber's remains in Saxon soil, Dec.
||Completes score of Tannhäuser,
April. Summer at Marienbad where he sketches Meistersinger.
Conceives Parsifal. Première of Tannhäuser in Dresden,
Oct. 19. Writes Lohengrin poem, Nov.
||Meets Hans von Bülow and begins
||Finishes Lohengrin, Aug.
||His mother dies Jan. Finishes
scoring Lohengrin, March. Writes "Organization of a National
Theater for Saxony"; joins the radical Vaterlandsverein, May. Writes
long essay "The Nibelungen: World-History as revealed in Saga,"
summer. Finishes poem Siegfrieds Tod, Nov. Meets Jessie
Laussot and Karl Ritter. Writes 11-page essay, "The Nibelungen-Myth,
as Sketches for a Drama," Oct.
||May revolution in Dresden fails.
He flees Weimar, Paris, Zurich, where Minna joins him, Aug.-Sept.
Writes essays "Art and revolution", June, and "The Art-Work of the
||Working in Paris, Jan.; brief
affair with Jessie Laussot in Bordeaux, March. Returns to Minna in
Zurich, July. Writes article "Judaism in Music," published under
pseudonym, Aug. Abandons libretto for opera Wieland der Schmied.
His journalism and Liszt's production of Lohengrin in Weimar,
Aug., contribue to his growing reputation. Writes 330-page opus,
Opera and Drama, Oct.-Feb. 1851; published Nov. 1851.
||Completes Young Seigfried
poem, Jun. Walking tour with Uhlig, July. Writes "A Communication to
My Friends," Aug. published Dec. Conceives Nibelungen saga as three
dramas and prologue, Nov. Sketching Das Rheingold and Die Walküre,
||Meets Mathilde Wesendonck.
Finishes Die Walküre and Das Rheingold poems, July, Nov.
Recasts two Siegfrieds, Nov.-Dec.
||Writes piano sonata for Mathilde
June. Takes cure in St. Moritz and goes mountain climbing, July-Aug.
Trip to Italy (La Spezia), Aug.-Sept. On trip to Paris with Liszt,
meets 15-year-old Cosima, Oct. Begins Das Rheingold music,
||Finishes composition of Das
Rheingold, Jan., and full score, Sept. Begins music for Die
Walküre, June-Dec. Conceives Tristan inspired by Mathilde
and Schopenhauer, Dec. Writes second version of Faust Overture
and conducts it in Zurich, Dec.-Jan.
||Conducts eight concerts in London,
March-June. Meets Berlioz there. After almost four months
interruption resumes scoring Walküre and brooding on
||Completes Walküre, March,
sketches unfinished opera Die Sieger, May. Begins composing
||Moves to the Asyl, a house on the
Wesendonck property, April. Working on first two acts of
Siegfried, July-Aug., when Wesendoncks move into Green Hill.
Drops Siegfried (and the Ring) for work on Tristan
poem, Aug. Sets five of Mathilde's poems to music, winter . Visit
from Cosima and von Bülow on their honeymoon, Aug. 29.
||Year of work and travel takes him
to Paris, Zurich, Geneva, Venice. Minna, jealous of Mathilde,
returns to Germany. Working on Tristan.
||Finishes Tristan Act II in
Venice; Act III, Lucerne. To Paris in Sept. where he is reunited
with Minna, Nov.
||Paris concerts a financial
failure. Revises Venusberg scene for performance of Tannhäuser
at Opera. Granted political amnesty to Germany (except Saxony),
July. Visits Taunus, Baden-Baden, Rhine, Aug. Rehearsing Paris
Tannhäuser from Sept. 1860 to March 1861.
||Paris Tannhäuser, March,
withdrawn by Wagner after three performances. Travels to Karlsruhe,
Vienna, Venice. Finally returns to Paris where he begins Die
||Finishes Die Meistersinger
libretto. Settles in Biebrich, near Maniz, to work on music.
Romantic involvment with Friederike Meyer and Mathilde Maier. Last
meeting with Minna, in Dresden, Nov.
||As an itenerant conductor for one
year, tours Germany, Austria, Russia. Visits with Cosima and von
Bülow in Berlin, Nov.
||Flight from creditors, Vienna to
Switzerland. Ludwig, King of Bavaria, summons him to Munich and
offer him royal patronage, May. Cosima and two children arrive June.
Affair with Cosima begins, July. Scoring Acts I, II of Siegfried.
Ludwig resolves to build festival theater for him, Nov.