Richard Wagner

Prelude to Act III of Lohengrin

            Lohengrin was first performed in 1850, and is certainly a Romantic opera in the strictest sense.  It is based upon the legendary romance of the 13th century of Lohengrin, a knight of the Holy Grail, who is sent in a boat pulled by swans to rescue the maiden, Elsa, who must never ask his name.   The young King Ludwig II of Bavaria was so moved by Wagner’s opera that he more or less bankrupted his country in order to build the famous castle, “Neuschwanstein”, that is so beloved by today’s tourists to Southern Germany.

Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

            Many—perhaps, most--of the respected and honored composers left little of themselves behind to speak for them except their immortal music.  And that’s usually enough.  But no great composer found the time to write, speculate, theorize, philosophize, and generally inflict his ideas expressed through the written word, as did Wagner.  Much was brilliant and influential—and some was simply evil rubbish.  His theories and the model of his own compositions changed the world of nineteenth-century opera in profound ways, brought to fruition in his great tetralogy—the Ring.