Richard WAGNER

Family tree of Richard WAGNER

Composer

GermanBorn Wilhelm Richard WAGNER

German composer, conductor, theatre director and polemicist

Born on May 22, 1813 in Leipzig , Germany

Died on February 13, 1883 in Venise , Italy

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Richard Wagner was born at No. 3 ('The House of the Red and White Lions'), the Brühl, in the Jewish quarter of Leipzig, the ninth child of Carl Friedrich Wagner, who was a clerk in the Leipzig police service, and his wife Johanna Rosine (née Paetz), the daughter of a baker. Wagner's father died of typhus six months after Richard's birth, following which Wagner's mother began living with the actor and playwright Ludwig Geyer, a friend of Richard's father. In August 1814 Johanna and Geyer probably married – although no documentation of this is found in the Leipzig church registers. She and her family moved to Geyer's residence in Dresden. Until he was fourteen, Wagner was known as Wilhelm Richard Geyer. He almost certainly suspected that Geyer was his natural father.



Geyer's love of the theatre was shared by his stepson, and Wagner took part in his performances. In his autobiography, Wagner recalled once playing the part of an angel. The boy Wagner was also hugely impressed by the Gothic elements of Weber's Der Freischütz. In late 1820, Wagner was enrolled at Pastor Wetzel's school at Possendorf, near Dresden, where he received some piano instruction from his Latin teacher. He could not manage a proper scale but preferred playing theatre overtures by ear. Geyer died in 1821, when Richard was eight. Subsequently, Wagner was sent to the Kreuz Grammar School in Dresden, paid for by Geyer's brother. The young Wagner entertained ambitions as a playwright, his first creative effort (listed as 'WWV 1') being a tragedy, Leubald, begun at school in 1826, which was strongly influenced by Shakespeare and Goethe. Wagner was determined to set it to music; he persuaded his family to allow him music lessons.

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Geographical origins

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