Richard Wagner had a longstanding love affair with the city of Venice. His sudden death there in 1883 also initiated a process through which Wagner and his reputation were integrated into Venice's own cumulative cultural image.
In Wagner and Venice, John Barker examines the connections between the great composer and the great city. The author traces patterns of Wagner's visits to Venice during his lifetime, considers what the city came to mean to Wagner, and investigates the details surrounding his death. Barker also examines how Venice viewed Wagner, by analyzing the landmark presentation of Wagner's Ring cycle two months after the composer's death, and by considering Venice's subsequent extensive Wagner celebrations and commemorations.
Throughout the volume, biographical detail from new and previously unavailable sources provides readers with a fresh interpretation of this seminal figure. Those already familiar with Wagner's life will find new information about, and insights into, the man and his career, while simultaneously discovering a neglected corner of Italian and Venetian cultural history.
John W. Barker is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, specializing in Medieval (including Venetian) History. He is also a passionate music lover and record collector, and an active music critic and journalist.