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Born: 1813, LeipzigDied: 1883, Venice

Wagner is known today for his operas based on medieval European legends and Norse epics. He was one of the most influential German composers of the 19th century, creating a system of using short motives to develop the drama in his operas. Wagner strove to create a “total art work” with each opera he composed, fusing music, poetry, art, theater, and dance to impart an overwhelming effect. With the financial support of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, the composer built a theater in Bayreuth that revolutionized opera production.

Further listening:Parsifal (1877-1882)Soloists, Berlin Philharmonic,Herbert von Karajan (DG)