Richard Wagner – Love Him or Hate Him

Day 282 of Colourisation Project – February 13

Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.

Born in 1813 in Leipzig, Germany, Richard Wagner was one of the world’s most influential—and controversial—composers, known primarily for his epic operas, including  The Flying Dutchman (1843), Tannhäuser (1845), Lohengrin (1850), Tristan und Isolde (1865), Parsifal (1882), and the monumental four-part, 18-hour Ring Cycle (1848–74), which inspired the proverb, “It’s not over till the fat lady sings.” (This extremely long opera culminates with a largish female opera singer singing a solo.)

Richard Wagner

Photographer: Franz Hanfstaengl – Richard Wagner 1870  – Coloured by Loredana Crupi

Unlike most opera composers, Wagner wrote both the libretto and the music for each of his stage works, which would later influence modern film scores, including Star Wars, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings film series.

Although Wagner lived decades before the birth of Nazism, his antisemitism throws a considerable shadow over his person and his work, and raises the perpetual question of the separation of art and politics. Most people either love him or hate him. His influence on the German National Socialist movement and especially on its leader was enormous. His anti-semitic polemics posthumously made him a favorite of Adolf Hitler. More than a century after his death, his legacy is still debated whilst in the modern State of Israel, Wagner’s operas are unofficially banned.

Richard Wagner died of a heart attack at the age of 69 on this day, 13 February, 1883 in Venice.  After a funerary gondola bore Wagner’s remains over the Grand Canal, his body was taken to Germany where it was buried in the garden of the Villa Wahnfried in Bayreuth.


“I have long been convinced that my artistic ideal stands or falls with Germany. Only the Germany that we love and desire can help us achieve that ideal.”    –    Richard Wagner

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1 Response to Richard Wagner – Love Him or Hate Him

  1. Pingback: Johannes Brahms ~ Classical Traditionalist | Random Phoughts

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