It is not often that composers have had so profound an impact on their time as Richard Wagner. His operas and artistic philosophy influenced not only musicians but also poets, painters, and playwright. He was worldly renowned for his operas and compositions, and although the public both liked and disliked his works, noone can deny their greatness.
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was born in Leipzig on May 22 1813. He was born into a theatrical family. He was the ninth child of Carl Friedrich Wagner, a police actuary, and Johanna Rosine Wagner. There is some discrepancy as to who his real father is. He was the son either of the police actuary Friedrich Wagner , who died soon after his birth, or of his mother's friend the painter, actor and poet Ludwig Geyer, whom she married in August 1814. In 1820 Wagner began his schooling near Dresden, in Pastor Wetzel's school. Through Geyer's literary interests, he became drawn to towards Classical and Shakespearean Drama. Soon Wagner discovered the world of Music and Beethoven in particular. At 15 he was overwhelmed by Beethoven's music and decided to become a composer, despite his minimal amount of musical education. He taught himself by studying the scores and had almost four years of formal training in music theory, but he never mastered an instrument. By 15 he had already written a play and at 16 his first compositions. In Leipzig, Wagner's first instruction in composition was taken in 1828 to1831 with Christian Muller, with whom he abundantly wrote his overtures. He then continued his lessons in composition with the theorist and composer; Christian Theodore Weinlig, who refused all payment. In March 1832, a performance with the C major overture by the Musikverein Euterpe, was the beginning of Wagner's career as a conductor. In 1832 he became chorus master oft he Wuzerburg theater and wrote text and music of his first opera, Die Feen, which was viewed as rather exceptional for a man's first opera. His next, Das Liebesverbot, written in 1833, and staged in 1836.
At this time, Wagner had already made himself known to the public as an opera conductor, conducting with the small Bethmann company that subsequently went bankrupt after debuting his opera. This experience did not prove to be a complete failure for on November 24 that year he married the young Minna Planner, a current singer in his opera. This marked the beginning of his tumultuous love life.
After Wagner's fiasco with the modest Bethmann company, he decided to write operas that could only be undertaken by major opera companies. He submitted two operas to the Konigsberg theater, which he soon realized was on the verge of bankruptcy. Wagner then turned his attention to the theater in Riga. With some help he was able to acquire the position there of music director. Here he began his second five-act libretto, Rienzi, a large-scale opera with a political theme...