Today in World History: February 13th

Richard Wagner was a German composer and director who died on this day in 1883. He was born in 1813, in Leipzig, Germany. He had a liking for the musical arts from a very young age, and enrolled at a music academy at the age of nine. From there he started gaining more and more appreciation for operas and musical dramas, which greatly influenced his career later on. He grew more and more influential, until his role in politics and a revolution in 1842 got him thrown out of Germany for twelve years. He spent most of his time in exile in Switzerland, where his already famous works were to be continued by a friend. He managed to survive on a small pension provided by a friend, but grew unhappy and had an affair with a married noblewoman. He started composing new works, one of which, Tannhäuser, he played for Queen Victoria. He spent the rest of his exile, from 1858-1862 in Venice and Paris, after another affair. In Paris he reunited from his ex-lover, Minna, although they split up soon after. In 1862 he returned to Germany, where he created some of his most famous works, and even built an opera houses. However, the last several years of his life were filled with affairs,  until he died of a heart attack at the age of sixty-nine.

“Joy is not in things; it is in us.”

-Richard Wagner

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