Richard Wagner was the only composer who created architecture himself: his “Haus Wahnfried“ and his “Festspielhaus“ in Bayreuth are testimony to this. The exhibition “Prachtgemäuer“ focuses on the special relationship Richard Wagner had with the architecture surrounding him and how this led the way to the construction of his own buildings. Visitors experience the most important former residences and workplaces of the poet-composer in Switzerland and Venice, in addition to Bayreuth, from a present-day and historical perspective in direct comparison.
These “Wagner places“ are also illuminated with a view to the development of music history: Here the curators of the exhibition Katja Fleischer and Joachim Mildner have brought musicologist Markus Kiesel onto the team. Large parts of the Ring tetralogy were created in Zurich from 1849 to 1858, and "Tristan" was completed at the Hotel Schweizerhof in Lucerne in 1859. In the nearby Landhaus Tribschen, in today’s Richard Wagner Museum, Wagner had spent his happiest years from 1866 to 1872. Here the initial spark for the construction of the “Festspielhaus“ took place. Venice as a frequently visited “place of longing“ inspired Wagner in a special way from 1858. It was to become a permanent residence from 1882; as in 1883 the Palazzo Vendramin became his “place of death“.
In the extensive text illustrated book "Proud Walls", which accompanies the exhibition, one can delve deeper into the places where Richard Wagner lived and worked. It is available here at the Museum.
The Exhibition runs from April 1st until November 30th.
This exhibition highlighting the life and work of Richard Wagner is on the ground floor of the museum. A collection of historical photographs and paintings are on display in five rooms, as well as a precious collection of original manuscripts. The exhibition also features memorabilia from Wagner, including items of his clothing and furniture, the famous cast-bronze Wagner bust by Fritz Schaper and the true gem of the collection: his Erard grand piano from Paris, dating from 1858.
The musical score to the "Siegfried Idyll" is one of the most important exhibits on display here. Richard Wagner composed a serenade transcribed with "Tribschener Idyll" for his wife Cosima on her 33rd birthday. It premiered on the stairs in the Tribschen manor on 25 December 1870. Cosima was thus awakened on her birthday by the gentle sound of the "Idyll".
The exhibition veritably comes alive with a public guided tour and concert on the Erard grand piano.