Cosima Wagner
Wife of Richard Wagner
Cosima Wagner
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.
Biography
Cosima Wagner's personal information overview.
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Beethovenfest: Stefan Mickisch sagt Konzert ab - Kultur-in-Bonn.de
Google News - over 5 years
Auch prominente Zeitgenossen wie Cosima Wagner, Liszts Lebensgefährtinnen Marie d'Agoult und Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein kommen zu Wort, ebenso wie Hans von Bülow, Clara und Robert Schumann, Heine oder Ludwig II. Auf musikalischer Seite stehen
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Ce s-a mai intamplat azi - 2 septembrie - Ziar Piatra Neamt
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1872 Richard si Cosima Wagner il viziteaza pe Franz Liszt la Hotelul Russischer Hof din Weimar in incercarea de a realiza o reconciliere. Este prima data cand cei doi se intalnesc dupa anul 1867 1853 Sa nascut Wilhelm Ostwald, chimist german,
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"La fattoria dei gelsomini" di Elisabeth von Arnim - Il Foglio (Abbonamento)
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Cugina di Katherine Mansfield, amica di Virginia Woolf e di EM Forster, moglie del conte HA von Armin, figlio adottivo di Cosima Wagner, alla sua morte diventa l'amante di HG Wells, che la descrive come “la donna più intelligente della sua epoca”
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FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE e RICHARD WAGNER LITIGARONO A SORRENTO - Positanonews
Google News - over 5 years
Aveva compiuto la dolorosa rinunzia al segreto amore che nutriva da più di sei anni per Cosima Wagner (figlia di Liszt e moglie divorziata dal conte Hans von Bulow) e, peggio ancora, aveva allentato i rapporti con Richard Wagner, che, oltre che amico,
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El mundo redescubre a Franz Liszt 125 años después de su muerte - La Razón (Perú)
Google News - over 5 years
Murió el 31 de julio de 1886 en Bayreuth, donde había viajado para asistir a la primera edición del festival dirigido por su hija, Cosima Wagner. En esa misma ciudad fue enterrado. En la misa de difuntos, Anton Bruckner tocó extractos del Parsifal de
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Im Schatten des Meisters - Das Verhältnis zwischen der Familie Wagner und dem ... - Deutschlandradio
Google News - over 5 years
Der Liszt-Biograf Oliver Hilmes: "Die Liszt-Ignoranz hat historische Gründe und hat vor allem finanzielle Gründe, denn es war natürlich klar, dass der Aufbau des Familienunternehmens in Bayreuth durch Cosima Wagner insbesondere … da war Franz Liszt
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Franz Liszt wird neu entdeckt - Mitteldeutsche Zeitung
Google News - over 5 years
Juli 1886 in Bayreuth, wo er die Festspiele unter Leitung seiner Tochter Cosima Wagner besuchen wollte. 125 Jahre nach seinem Tod soll an diesem Sonntag mit einem Gedenkgottesdienst in der Schlosskirche Bayreuth an Liszt erinnert werden
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Bayreuther Festspiele: Werktreue oder die Möglichkeit Neues zu probieren? - Berliner Umschau
Google News - over 5 years
Er selbst und auch seine Frau, Cosima Wagner, die nach seinem Tod die Leitung der Festspiele übernahm, hatten eine strenge Vorstellung von Werktreue. Zwar kam es in den 100 Jahren Festspielen immer wieder zu Modernisierungen der Inszenierungen,
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Festival Wagner: 100ª edição de uma saga familiar - DW-World Brazil
Google News - over 5 years
Encenação, cenários, marcações cênica e técnica vocal: tudo transcorria sob as ordens estritas de Cosima Wagner. Durante décadas, a decoração de cena não podia ser mudada sob nenhum pretexto, naquele "sítio de culto". Cada procedimento no teatro era
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Beim Bier kam Wagner in Wallung - Der Neue Wiesentbote
Google News - over 5 years
Juli 2011 Sie hat alles ganz genau aufgeschrieben und deshalb sind auch viele Kleinigkeiten überliefert: Cosima Wagner, Gattin des Komponisten Richard Wagner, führte in ihren Tagebüchern akribisch Buch über die Aktivitäten der beiden
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Es begann mit einem Traum... - Deutsche Welle
Google News - over 5 years
Die Künstler und Intellektuellen um Cosima Wagner bekannten sich zu einer starken deutschnationalen und völkischen Ideologie antisemitischer Prägung. Zum Teil berief man sich dabei auf Richard Wagners unmissverständlichen Hasstiraden in seinem Pamphlet
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Cosima Wagner monte au front - Libération (Abonnement)
Google News - over 5 years
Cela s'appelait Laurent Sauvage n'est pas une Walkyrie, et il s'agissait déjà d'évoquer la figure de Cosima Wagner, dernière épouse de Richard Wagner, fille de La lecture de cet article est réservée aux abonnés LIBE+. Abonnez-vous dès maintenant,
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Festival d'Avignon: une Cosima sans relief dans un théâtre version radio - La Croix
Google News - over 5 years
Dans un espace vide aux murs noirs, un comédien et quatre comédiennes évoquent la figure hors du commun de Cosima Wagner. Fille de Franz Liszt et de la comtesse Marie d'Agoult, épouse du grand chef d'orchestre Hans von Bülow, puis de Richard Wagner,
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Marx első áldozata - Hetek
Google News - over 5 years
Françoise Giroud francia író, nőtörténész Alma Mahler, Marie Curie és Cosima Wagner élettörténetének nagy sikerű publikálása után a szépreményű Jenny von Westphalen baronesz szerelmi tragédiáját tűzte tollára Az ördög felesége címmel
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Culture at its heart - The Riviera Times
Google News - over 5 years
The French statesman, who also served as prime minister to Napoleon III, had already been married to Blandine, daughter of Franz Liszt and sister of Cosima Wagner, for three years by that stage. Ollivier had many links to the literary and artistic
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Pierre Boulez and Daniel Barenboim unite with poise and purpose - Evening Standard
Google News - over 5 years
Any incipient drama of the Siegfried Idyll (there are fragments of the opera Die Walküre as well as Siegfried) was played down by Boulez in favour of an exquisitely intimate reading such as Cosima Wagner might have heard when it was first played on the
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Zeitreise durch Viersen - RP ONLINE
Google News - over 5 years
Stadtgeschichte einmal anders: Heimatverein und Volksbühne luden Dechant Stroux, Freiherr von Diergardt, Kommerzienrat Kaiser und Cosima Wagner ein. Viele Viersener waren begeistert von diesem Stadtrundgang. Christian Brüning (im Talar) erläuterte als
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Cosima Wagner
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1930
    Age 92
    This was a defining feature of Bayreuth for decades, into the Nazi era which closely followed her death in 1930.
    More Details Hide Details Thus, although she is widely perceived as the saviour of the festival, her legacy remains controversial. In January 1833 the 21-year-old Hungarian pianist and composer Franz Liszt met Marie d'Agoult, a Parisian socialite six years his senior. Marie's antecedents were mixed; her German mother, from a prominent Frankfurt banking family, had married a French nobleman, the Comte de Flavigny. Marie had been married since 1827 to Charles, Comte d'Agoult, and had borne him two daughters, but the union had become sterile. Drawn together by their mutual intellectual interests, Marie and Liszt embarked on a passionate relationship. In March 1835 the couple fled Paris for Switzerland; ignoring the scandal they left in their wake, they settled in Geneva where, on 18 December, Marie gave birth to a daughter, Blandine-Rachel. In the following two years Liszt and Marie travelled widely in pursuit of his career as a concert pianist. Late in 1837, when Marie was heavily pregnant with their second child, the couple were at Como in Italy. Here, on 24 December in a lakeside hotel in Bellagio, a second daughter was born. They named her Francesca Gaetana Cosima, the unusual third name being derived from St Cosmas, a patron saint of physicians and apothecaries; it was as "Cosima" that the child became known. With her sister she was left in the care of wet nurses (a common practice at the time), while Liszt and Marie continued to travel in Europe.
    She died, aged 92, on 1 April 1930; after a funeral service at Wahnfried her body was taken to Coburg and cremated.
    More Details Hide Details Cosima's life mission was total service to Wagner and his works; in the words of the music critic Eric Salzman she "submitted herself body and soul to the Master". In Wagner's lifetime she fulfilled this purpose primarily by recording in her journal every facet of his life and ideas. After his death the journal was abandoned; she would henceforth serve the master by perpetuating his artistic heritage through the Bayreuth Festival. Guided by Groß, but also using her own acumen—Werner calls her a "superb business woman"—she succeeded in making the festival first solvent, then profitable. While acknowledging that Cosima was an effective "keeper of the flame", commentators have criticised the nature of her legacy. The Ring historian J.K. Holman describes it as one of "stifling conservatism". Her policy of sticking to Wagner's original stage conceptions was not fully abandoned until after the Second World War, when a new generation took charge of the festival. Hilmes likens Cosima's role to that of the abbess of a religious community: "a cohesive, quasi-religious congregation of Bayreuthians sharing a common philosophical outlook". Anti-Semitism was integral to this philosophy; although in 1869 Cosima had opposed the re-publication of Wagner's anti-Jewish treatise Jewishness in Music, this was on grounds of commercial prudence rather than sensitivity. In 1881 she encouraged Wagner to write his essay "Know Thyself", and to include in it a tirade against Jewish assimilation.
  • 1927
    Age 89
    By 1927, the year of her 90th birthday, Cosima's health was failing.
    More Details Hide Details The birthday was marked in Bayreuth by the naming of a street in her honour, although she was unaware; the family thought that knowledge of the celebrations would overexcite her. In her last years she was virtually bedridden, became blind, and was only lucid at intervals.
  • 1923
    Age 85
    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.
    More Details Hide Details The Chamberlains, together with Winifred, became enthusiastic members of the Nazi Party, and the 1924 festival became an overt rally for the party and its leading supporters. That year Cosima, then 86, ended her long absence from the theatre by attending the dress rehearsals for Parsifal, and watching the first act at the opening performance on 23 July. The tenor Lauritz Melchior remembered Siegfried returning from frequent visits to a small gallery above the stage and saying "Mama wants "
  • 1917
    Age 79
    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.
    More Details Hide Details The outbreak of the First World War curtailed the 1914 festival; the conflict and the political and economic upheavals that followed the war closed the Festpielhaus until 1924. Plans for the festival's resumption coincided with an upsurge in Germany of extreme nationalist politics.
  • 1915
    Age 77
    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.
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  • 1913
    Age 75
    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.
    More Details Hide Details After this she withdrew, and to the time of her death in 1919 never again saw or communicated directly with Cosima.
  • 1908
    Age 70
    In December 1908 Eva, then 41, married Houston Stewart Chamberlain, a British-born historian who had adopted as his personal creed a fanatical form of German nationalism based on principles of extreme racial and cultural purity.
    More Details Hide Details He had known Cosima since 1888, though his affinity with Wagner extended back to 1882, when he had attended the premiere of Parsifal. He had successively courted Blandina and then Isolde, before settling on Eva. Cosima had considerable empathy with his theories; according to Carr "she came to love him as her son—perhaps even more". Chamberlain became the dominant figure within the Wagner circle, and was largely responsible for the increasing alienation of the Beidlers. Cosima may have been unaware of Isolde's attempts at rapprochement, because Eva and Chamberlain withheld Isolde's letters.
  • 1907
    Age 69
    By May 1907 it was clear that her health was such that she could no longer remain in charge at Bayreuth; this responsibility now passed to Siegfried, her long-designated heir.
    More Details Hide Details The succession was accomplished against a background of family disagreement; Beidler thought that he had rights, based partly on his greater conducting experience and also because he and Isolde had produced Wagner's only grandchild, a son born in October 1901, who could establish a dynastic succession. Beidler's claims were dismissed by Cosima and by Siegfried; he never conducted at Bayreuth again, and the rift between the Beidlers and Cosima developed in due course into a major family feud. Cosima moved into rooms to the rear of Wahnfried, away from the house's daily bustle, where she passed her days surrounded by Wagner's possessions and numerous family portraits. Although at first Siegfried discussed his festival plans with her, she avoided the Festpielhaus, content to read reports of the productions. Siegfried made few changes to the production traditions set by Wagner and Cosima; Spotts records that "whatever had been laid down by his parents was preserved unchanged out of a sense of strict filial duty". Only in matters on which they had not spoken was he prepared to exercise his own judgement. As a result, the original Parsifal sets remained in use even when they were visibly crumbling; the view of Cosima and her daughters was that no changes should ever be made to stage sets "on which the eye of the Master had rested".
  • 1906
    Age 68
    On 8 December 1906, having directed that year's festival, Cosima suffered an Adams-Stokes seizure (a form of heart attack) while visiting her friend Prince Hohenlohe at Langenburg.
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  • 1903
    Age 65
    Cosima was enraged, but her efforts to prevent him were to no avail; the first of 11 performances took place on 24 December 1903.
    More Details Hide Details The enterprise was a popular and critical success, though in Cosima's view it was a "rape"; her hostility towards the Metropolitan lasted for the remainder of her life.
  • 1901
    Age 63
    In anticipation, in 1901 Cosima sought to have the period of copyright protection extended by law to 50 years.
    More Details Hide Details She lobbied members of the Reichstag tirelessly, and was assured by Kaiser Wilhelm II of his support. These efforts failed to bring about any change in the law. In 1903, taking advantage of the lack of a copyright agreement between the United States and Germany, Heinrich Conried of the New York Metropolitan Opera announced that he would stage Parsifal later that year.
  • FIFTIES
  • 1894
    Age 56
    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.
    More Details Hide Details In common with Wagner, Cosima was willing to shelve her anti-Semitic prejudices in the interests of Bayreuth, to the extent of continuing to employ Levi for whom she developed considerable artistic respect. However, she frequently undermined him behind his back in private letters, and allowed her children to mimic and mock him. Cosima expressed to Weingartner the view that "between Aryan and Semite blood there could exist no bond whatever". In accordance with this doctrine, she would not invite Gustav Mahler (born Jewish though a convert to Catholicism) to conduct at Bayreuth, although she frequently took his advice over artistic matters.
  • FORTIES
  • 1886
    Age 48
    Cosima was determined to preserve Bayreuth's exclusive right, acknowledged by Ludwig, to perform Parsifal. After Ludwig's death in 1886 this right was briefly challenged by his successor, an attempt swiftly defeated by Cosima with the help of Groß.
    More Details Hide Details A more serious threat arose from the German copyright laws, which only protected works for 30 years following the creator's death; thus Parsifal would lose its protection in 1913 regardless of any agreement with the Bavarian court.
    In 1886, her first year in charge, she added Tristan und Isolde to the canon.
    More Details Hide Details Amid the bustle of the festival Cosima refused to be distracted by the illness of her father, Liszt, who collapsed after attending a performance of Tristan and died several days later. Cosima supervised her father's funeral service and burial arrangements, but refused a memorial concert or any overt display of remembrance. According to Liszt's pupil Felix Weingartner, "Liszt's passing was not of sufficient importance to dim the glory of the Festival, even for a moment". Die Meistersinger was added in 1888, Tannhäuser in 1891, Lohengrin in 1894 and Der fliegende Holländer in 1901.
  • 1885
    Age 47
    In 1885 Cosima announced that she would direct the 1886 festival.
    More Details Hide Details Her tenure as Bayreuth's director lasted for 22 years, until 1907. During that time she oversaw 13 festivals, and by gradually increasing the repertory established the "Bayreuth canon" of ten mature Wagner works. Her triumvirate of conductors—Levi, Richter and Felix Mottl—shared the musical direction until 1894, when Levi left. Richter and Mottl served throughout Cosima's years, joined by several of the leading conductors of the day, although Bülow resisted all offers to participate. In the course of her long stewardship Cosima overcame the misgivings of the hardline Wagnerites patrons who believed, like Nietzsche in his early years, that Wagner's works should not be entrusted to a non-German. Under her watch the festival moved from an uncertain financial basis into a prosperous business undertaking that brought great riches to the Wagner family. Although the festival's historian, Frederic Spotts, suggests that Cosima was more creative than she affected to be, the primary purpose of all her productions was to follow the instructions and reflect the wishes of the Master: "There is nothing left for us here to create, but only to perfect in detail". This policy incurred criticism, among others from Bernard Shaw, who in 1889 mocked Cosima as the "chief remembrancer". Shaw scorned the idea that Wagner's wishes were best represented by the slavish copying in perpetuity of the performances he had witnessed. Ten years later Shaw highlighted as a feature of the "Bayreuth style" the "intolerably old-fashioned tradition of half rhetorical, half historical-pictorial attitudes and gestures", and the characteristic singing, "sometime tolerable, sometimes abominable".
  • 1883
    Age 45
    Without Cosima's participation the 1883 festival, as planned by Wagner—12 performances of Parsifal—went ahead, with Emil Scaria (who sang the role of Gurnemanz in the opera) doubling as artistic director.
    More Details Hide Details The cast was largely that of 1882, and Levi remained as conductor. At the conclusion of the festival Cosima received a long, critical memorandum from an unknown observer, which highlighted numerous divergences from Wagner's directions. This, says Marek, proved to be a critical factor in determining her future life's mission: the maintenance of Wagner's heritage creations through the preservation of his interpretations. In her seclusion, Cosima learned of an abortive plan masterminded by Julius Kniese, the festival's chorus-master, by which Liszt was to assume the role of music director and Bülow would be chief conductor. Neither Liszt nor Bülow was interested in this arrangement, and the plan died. With Groß's assistance, Cosima pre-empted any further attempts by outsiders to assume control of the Wagner legacy, by obtaining legal recognition of herself and Siegfried as sole heirs to all Wagner's property, physical and intellectual. By this means she secured an unassailable advantage over any other claim on direction of the festival's future.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details However, an underlying cause of domestic friction may have surfaced concerning Carrie Pringle, an English soprano from the Parsifal cast who was rumoured to be having an affair with Wagner. According to Isolde, recalling the occasion much later, the Pringle suspicions led to a furious row between Cosima and Wagner on the morning of 13 February. There is no solid evidence of an affair between Wagner and Pringle, nor is Isolde's story of a row supported by any other testimony. At around noon on that day, Wagner suffered a fatal heart attack, and died in the middle of the afternoon. Cosima sat with Wagner's body for more than 24 hours, refusing all refreshment or respite. During the embalming process, which occupied the next two days, Cosima sat with the body as often as possible, to the dismay of her children. She also asked her daughters to cut her hair, which was then sewn into a cushion and placed on Wagner's breast. On 16 February the journey back to Bayreuth began, and on Sunday 18 February the cortège processed to Wahnfried, where, following a brief service, Wagner was buried in the garden. Cosima remained in the house until the ceremonies were over; according to her daughter Daniela she then went to the grave "and for a long time lay down on the coffin until Fidi (Siegfried) went to fetch her". Afterwards she went into seclusion for many months, barely even seeing her children, with whom she communicated mainly through written notes.
  • 1882
    Age 44
    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.
    More Details Hide Details The youngest daughter, Eva, rejected numerous suitors to remain her mother's secretary and companion for the rest of Cosima's tenure.
  • 1878
    Age 40
    For Cosima's birthday on 25 December 1878, Wagner hired an orchestra to play the newly composed prelude to Parsifal.
    More Details Hide Details The concert also included the Siegfried Idyll; Cosima wrote afterwards: "There stands he who has called forth these wonders, and he loves me. He loves me!". Progress on Parsifal was hampered by Wagner's recurrent ill-health, but by late 1880 he announced the next festival for 1882, to be devoted entirely to the new work. Wagner secured Ludwig's agreement that Parsifal should be staged exclusively at Bayreuth, but in return, Ludwig required that his current Munich Kapellmeister, Hermann Levi, should conduct the festival. Wagner objected on the grounds of Levi's Jewish faith; Parsifal, he maintained, was a "Christian" opera. Both he and Cosima were vehement anti-Semites; Hilmes conjectures that Cosima inherited this in her youth, from her father, from Carolyne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, probably from Madame Patersi and, a little later, from Bülow, "an anti-Semite of the first order". Thus Cosima's anti-Semitism predates her association with Wagner, although Marek observes that he nurtured it in her, to the extent that derogatory references to Jews occur, on average, on every fourth page of her 5,000-page journal. The musicologist Eric Werner argues that Wagner's anti-Semitism derived in part from his initial revolutionary philosophy; as a disciple of Proudhon he saw Jewry as "the embodiment of possession, of monopoly capitalism". Cosima's had no such basis, and whereas Wagner retained an ability to revise his views on the basis of his experiences, Cosima's anti-Semitism was visceral and remained unchanged.
    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.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 1876
    Age 38
    In March 1876, Cosima and Wagner were in Berlin when they learned that Marie d'Agoult had died in Paris.
    More Details Hide Details Unable to attend the funeral, Cosima expressed her feelings in a letter to her daughter Daniela: "There is nothing left for me to do, except to grieve for the woman that brought me into the world". From June onwards, Cosima's journal entries consist almost entirely of comments on the forthcoming festival's rehearsals, sometimes warmly approving, often critical and anxious; for example, she found the costumes "reminiscent throughout of Red Indian chiefs... all the marks of provincial tastelessness". From the beginning of August 1876 distinguished guests began to converge on the town; Ludwig, incognito, attended the final dress rehearsals between 6 and 9 August, but then left the town, reappearing in time to attend the final performances of the festival. Among other royal visitors were the German emperor Wilhelm I, Dom Pedro II of Brazil and an assortment of princes and grand dukes from the European royal families. Many of Europe's leading composers came: Bruckner, Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saëns, and Cosima's father, Liszt, who held court at Wahnfried among the notables who gathered there. Also in Bayreuth was Wagner's current mistress, Judith Gautier. It is unlikely that Cosima knew of the affair at this time, though she may have harboured a degree of suspicion. Cosima's demeanour as the festival's hostess was described by a young American visitor in fulsome terms: "Mme Wagner is exceedingly gracious and affable... a magnificent-looking woman, a perfect queen "
  • 1872
    Age 34
    On 31 October 1872 Cosima received her first Protestant sacrament alongside Wagner: "a deeply moving occasion... what a lovely thing religion is!
    More Details Hide Details What other power could produce such feelings!"
  • 1871
    Age 33
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Wagner announced the first Bayreuth Festival for 1873, at which his full Ring cycle would be performed. Aware of the honour that such an event would bring to the town, the local council donated a large plot of land—the "Green Hill"—overlooking the town, as a site for the theatre. Since Ludwig had declined to finance the project, the start of building was delayed and the proposed date for the initial festival was deferred. By the spring of 1873 only a third of the required funds had been raised; further pleas to Ludwig were initially ignored, but early in 1874, with the entire project on the verge of collapse, the king relented and provided a loan. The full building programme included a handsome villa, "Wahnfried", into which Wagner, with Cosima and the children, moved from their temporary accommodation on 18 April 1874. The theatre was completed in 1875, and the festival scheduled for the following year. Commenting on the struggle to finish the building Wagner remarked to Cosima: "Each stone is red with my blood and yours".
  • 1870
    Age 32
    Wagner and Cosima were married at Lucerne, on 25 August 1870, in a Protestant church.
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    On 5 March 1870 Cosima, according to her journal, advised him to "look up the article on Baireuth in the encyclopaedia".
    More Details Hide Details Wagner knew the town from a short visit he had made there in 1835; he was attracted to it by its central location and by its quiet non-fashionability.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details During her directorship, Cosima opposed theatrical innovations and adhered closely to Wagner's original productions of his works, an approach continued by her successors long after her retirement in 1907. She shared Wagner's convictions of German cultural and racial superiority, and under her influence, Bayreuth became increasingly identified with antisemitism.
  • 1869
    Age 31
    In June 1869, immediately after the birth of her and Wagner's third and final child, Siegfried, Cosima wrote to von Bülow in what she called a "final attempt at an understanding". His reply was conciliatory; he wrote: "You have preferred to consecrate the treasures of your heart and mind to a higher being: far from censuring you for this step, I approve of it". Legal processes extended the marriage until 18 July 1870, when the divorce was finally sanctioned by a Berlin court.
    More Details Hide Details After the divorce von Bülow distanced himself from both Wagner and Cosima; he never again spoke to Wagner, and 11 years passed before his next meeting with Cosima.
  • 1868
    Age 30
    In October 1868 Cosima asked her husband for a divorce, to which he would not initially agree.
    More Details Hide Details To sceptical enquirers he explained her absence from the von Bülow family home by a supposed visit to her half-sister in Versailles.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1867
    Age 29
    By this time Cosima was pregnant with her second child by Wagner; a daughter, Eva, was born at Tribschen on 17 February 1867.
    More Details Hide Details Through all this, von Bülow retained his devotion to Wagner's music. He had been appointed music director of the Munich Hofoper, and threw himself into the preparations for the premiere of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. This took place on 21 June 1868 under his baton, and was a great success. Shortly afterwards, Cosima rejoined Wagner at Tribschen; Wagner explained to the king that she could not bear the insults to which she was continually subjected in Munich, and wished to escape from the world.
  • 1866
    Age 28
    Wagner, anxious to avoid associating Cosima in a public scandal, deceived Ludwig into issuing a statement in June 1866 which declared the unbroken sanctity of the von Bülows' marriage, and promised retribution for those daring to suggest otherwise.
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    After a few months' wandering, in March 1866 Wagner arrived in Geneva, where Cosima joined him.
    More Details Hide Details They travelled together to Lucerne where they found a large lakeside house, the Villa Tribschen. Wagner made immediate arrangements to rent the house, at the king's expense, and by 15 April was installed in his new home. Immediately upon signing the lease, Wagner invited the von Bülows and their children to stay with him. They spent the summer there, returning briefly to Munich before von Bülow left for Basel while Cosima went back to Tribschen. By now von Bülow understood his wife's relationship with Wagner; he wrote to a friend that "since February 1865 I was in absolutely no doubt about the extremely peculiar nature of the situation".
  • 1865
    Age 27
    Nine months after this visit, on 10 April 1865, Cosima gave birth to a daughter, Isolde.
    More Details Hide Details Such was von Bülow's devotion to Wagner that he accepted the child as his own, and registered her as "the legitimate daughter" of Hans and Cosima von Bülow. Wagner attended the Catholic baptism on 24 April. On 10 June 1865, at the Munich Hofoper, von Bülow conducted the premiere of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. Wagner's role at Ludwig's court became controversial; in particular, Ludwig's habit of referring Wagner's policy ideas to his ministers alarmed the court. When Wagner demanded the sacking both of Ludwig's cabinet secretary and of his prime minister, there was a public outcry, and in December 1865 Ludwig reluctantly told Wagner to leave Bavaria. The king did not, however, withdraw his patronage or financial support.
  • 1864
    Age 26
    From 29 June 1864 Cosima spent more than a week alone with Wagner at Lake Starnberg, before von Bülow joined them on 7 July.
    More Details Hide Details According to Wagner's housekeeper, Anna Mrazek, "it was easy to tell that something was going on between Frau Cosima and Richard Wagner". Mrazek said that later in the visit von Bülow found his wife in Wagner's bedroom, but nevertheless made no demands for an explanation, either from Wagner or from his wife.
  • 1863
    Age 25
    On 28 November 1863 Wagner visited Berlin; while Bülow was rehearsing a concert, Wagner and Cosima took a long cab ride through Berlin and declared their feelings for each other: "with tears and sobs", Wagner later wrote, "we sealed our confession to belong to each other alone".
    More Details Hide Details In 1864 Wagner's financial position was transformed by his new patron, the 18-year-old King Ludwig II of Bavaria, who paid off the composer's debts and awarded him a generous annual stipend. Ludwig also provided Wagner with a lakeside retreat at Lake Starnberg, and a grand house in Munich. At Wagner's instigation, von Bülow accepted a post as Ludwig's "royal pianist"; he and Cosima moved to Munich, and took a house conveniently close to Wagner's, ostensibly so that Cosima could work as the composer's secretary.
    Cosima's second daughter, born in March 1863, was named Blandina Elisabeth Veronica. Bülow was committed to Wagner's music; in 1858 he had undertaken the preparation of a vocal score for Tristan und Isolde, and by 1862 he was making a fair copy of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. A social relationship developed, and during the summer of 1862 the Bülows stayed with Wagner at the composer's home at Biebrich.
    More Details Hide Details Wagner records that Cosima became "transfigured" by his rendering of "Wotan's Farewell" from Die Walküre. In October 1862, just after Blandine's death, Wagner and Bülow shared conducting duties at a concert in Leipzig; Wagner records that, during a rehearsal, "I felt utterly transported by the sight of Cosima... she appeared to me as if stepping from another world". In these years Wagner's emotional life was in disarray. He was still married to his first wife, Minna Planer (she was to die in 1866), and was involved in several extramarital relationships.
    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.
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  • 1862
    Age 24
    A further, unexpected blow for Cosima fell in September 1862, when her sister Blandine, who had shared much of her upbringing, died in childbirth—she had been married to Émile Ollivier, a Parisian lawyer, since October 1857.
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  • 1860
    Age 22
    Cosima's first child, a daughter born on 12 October 1860, was named Daniela in Daniel's memory.
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  • 1859
    Age 21
    In December 1859 she was saddened by the death of her brother Daniel, at the age of twenty, after a long wasting illness.
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  • TEENAGE
  • 1857
    Age 19
    Liszt approved the match, and the marriage took place at St. Hedwig's Cathedral, Berlin, on 18 August 1857.
    More Details Hide Details During their honeymoon, along with Liszt they visited Wagner at his home near Zurich. This visit was repeated the following year, when Cosima, on taking her leave, shocked Wagner with an emotional demonstration: "She fell at my feet, covered my hands with tears and kisses... I pondered the mystery, without being able to solve it". Cosima, a Parisian by upbringing, found it hard to adjust to life in Berlin, which was then a more provincial city than Paris. Her attempts to mix with local society, according to Marie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, were handicapped by "her exaggerated self-esteem and innate causticity", which alienated the men and women in her circle. At least initially, Cosima took an interest in her husband's career, encouraging him to extend his activities into composition. On one occasion she provided him with a scenario she had written for an opera based on the story of Merlin, court magician to King Arthur. However, nothing came of this project. Bülow's crowded professional schedule left Cosima alone for long periods, during which she worked for the French-language magazine Revue germanique as a translator and contributor.
    In 1857, after a childhood largely spent under the care of her grandmother and with governesses, Cosima married the conductor Hans von Bülow.
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  • 1850
    Age 12
    Early in 1850 Liszt had been disturbed to learn that Blandine and Cosima were seeing their mother again; his response, guided by the princess, was to remove them from their school and place them into the full-time care of Carolyne's old governess, the 72-year-old Madame Patersi de Fossombroni.
    More Details Hide Details Liszt's instructions were clear—Madame Patersi was to control every aspect of the girls' lives: "She alone is to decide what is to be permitted them and what forbidden". Blandine and Cosima were subjected to the Patersi curriculum for four years. Cosima's biographer Oliver Hilmes likens the regime to that used for breaking in horses, though Marek describes it as exacting but ultimately beneficial to Cosima: "Above all, Patersi taught her how a 'noble lady' must behave, how to alight from a carriage, how to enter a drawing room, how to greet a duchess as against a commoner... and how not to betray herself when she was hurt". On 10 October 1853 Liszt arrived at the Patersi apartment, his first visit to his daughters since 1845. With him were two fellow-composers: Hector Berlioz and Richard Wagner. Carolyne's daughter Marie, who was present, described Cosima's appearance as "in the worst phase of adolescence, tall and angular, sallow... the image of her father. Only her long golden hair, of unusual sheen, was beautiful". After a family meal, Wagner read to the group from his text for the final act of what was to become Götterdämmerung. Cosima seems to have made little impression on him; in his memoirs he merely recorded that both girls were very shy.
    Cosima and Blandine remained with Anna Liszt until 1850, joined eventually by Daniel.
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    Though they were living in the same city, she did not see either of her daughters for five years, until 1850.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1848
    Age 10
    By the autumn of 1848 she and Liszt had become lovers, and their relationship lasted for the remainder of his life.
    More Details Hide Details She quickly assumed responsibility for the management of Liszt's life, including the upbringing of his daughters.
  • 1841
    Age 3
    Relations between the couple cooled, and by 1841 they were seeing little of each other; it is likely that both engaged in other affairs.
    More Details Hide Details By 1845 the breach between them was such that they were communicating only through third parties. Liszt forbade contact between mother and daughters; Marie accused him of attempting to steal "the fruits of a mother's womb", while Liszt insisted on his sole right to decide the children's future. Marie threatened to fight him "like a lioness", but soon gave up the struggle, perhaps valuing the preservation of her social status above her duties as a mother.
  • 1839
    Age 1
    In 1839, while Liszt continued his travels, Marie took the social risk of returning to Paris with her daughters.
    More Details Hide Details Her hopes of recovering her status in the city were dented when her influential mother, Madame de Flavigny, refused to acknowledge the children; Marie would not be accepted socially while her daughters were clearly in evidence. Liszt's solution was to remove the girls from Marie and place them with his mother, Anna Liszt, in her Paris home while Daniel remained with nurses in Venice. By this means, both Marie and Liszt could continue their independent lives.
  • 1837
    Born
    Born in 1837.
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Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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