Cosima Wagner

Wife of Richard Wagner
Born Dec 24, 1837

Cosima Wagner, born Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt, was the daughter of the Hungarian pianist and composer Franz Liszt. She became the second wife of the German composer Richard Wagner, and with him founded the Bayreuth Festival as a showcase for his stage works; after his death she devoted the rest of her life to the promotion of his music and philosophy.… Read More

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Cosima Wagner.


1837 Birth Born in 1837.
1839 2 Years Old In 1839, while Liszt continued his travels, Marie took the social risk of returning to Paris with her daughters. … Read More
1841 4 Years Old Relations between the couple cooled, and by 1841 they were seeing little of each other; it is likely that both engaged in other affairs. … Read More


1848 11 Years Old …  By the autumn of 1848 she and Liszt had become lovers, and their relationship lasted for the remainder of his life. … Read More
Though they were living in the same city, she did not see either of her daughters for five years, until 1850.


1857 20 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1857, after a childhood largely spent under the care of her grandmother and with governesses, Cosima married the conductor Hans von Bülow.
1859 - 1862 3 More Events
Although the marriage produced two children, it was largely a loveless union, and in 1863 Cosima began a relationship with Wagner, who was 24 years her senior.
1864 - 1865 2 More Events
1866 29 Years Old 1 More Event
After a few months' wandering, in March 1866 Wagner arrived in Geneva, where Cosima joined him. … Read More


1867 - 1869 3 More Events
She married him in 1870; after his death in 1883 she directed the Bayreuth Festival for more than 20 years, increasing its repertoire to form the Bayreuth canon of ten operas and establishing the festival as a major event in the world of musical theatre. … Read More
1871 34 Years Old When he and Cosima visited in April 1871 they decided immediately that they would build their theatre there, and that the town would be their future home. … Read More
1872 35 Years Old …  On 31 October 1872 Cosima received her first Protestant sacrament alongside Wagner: "a deeply moving occasion... what a lovely thing religion is! … Read More
1876 39 Years Old In March 1876, Cosima and Wagner were in Berlin when they learned that Marie d'Agoult had died in Paris. … Read More


1878 41 Years Old 1 More Event
…  On a practical level, when the festival's creditors began to press for payment, Cosima's personal plea to Ludwig in 1878 persuaded the king to provide a loan to pay off the outstanding debt and open the door to the prospect of a second Bayreuth Festival.
1882 45 Years Old By the beginning of the new century three of Cosima's daughters had married: Blandina to Count Biagio Gravina in the closing days of the 1882 festival, Daniela to Henry Thode, an art historian, on 3 July 1886, and Isolde, Cosima's first child by Wagner, who married a young conductor,, on 20 December 1900. … Read More
1883 46 Years Old 1 More Event
…  Cosima's journal entry for 12 February 1883—the last she was to make—records Wagner reading Fouqué's novel Undine, and playing the Rhinemaidens' lament from Das Rheingold on the piano. … Read More
1885 48 Years Old In 1885 Cosima announced that she would direct the 1886 festival. … Read More
1886 49 Years Old 1 More Event
…  In 1886, her first year in charge, she added Tristan und Isolde to the canon. … Read More


1894 57 Years Old After the 1894 festival Levi resigned, the years of working in an anti-Semitic ambience having finally had their effect. At the 1896 festival Siegfried made his Bayreuth conducting debut in one of the five Ring cycles; he remained one of Bayreuth's regular conductors for the remainder of Cosima's tenure. … Read More


1901 - 1908 5 More Events
1913 76 Years Old In 1913 Isolde was effectively disinherited when she sought to confirm her rights as a co-heir to the considerable Wagner fortunes in a court case, which she lost. … Read More
1915 78 Years Old A happier family event from Cosima's standpoint was Siegfried's marriage in 1915, at the age of 46, to Winifred Williams, the 18-year-old foster-daughter of Karl Klindworth who had been friends with both Wagner and Liszt.
1917 80 Years Old When the couple's first son, Wieland, was born on 5 January 1917, Cosima celebrated by playing excerpts from the Siegfried Idyll on Wagner's piano. … Read More
1923 86 Years Old Adolf Hitler, a fervent Wagner admirer, first visited Wahnfried in 1923, and although he was not received by Cosima he befriended the family and was thereafter a regular visitor. … Read More
1927 90 Years Old By 1927, the year of her 90th birthday, Cosima's health was failing. … Read More
1930 93 Years Old 1 More Event
This was a defining feature of Bayreuth for decades, into the Nazi era which closely followed her death in 1930. … Read More
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