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This Day in History - May 22

Composer Richard Wagner was born.
Video | May 22, 2017 | By Jonathan Shipley


On this day, in 1813, German composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883) was born. A towering figure in classical music, he's most known for his work in opera. Unlike most composers, Wagner wrote both the libretto and the music for each of his staged works. His most famous work is Der Ring des Nibelungen. Known as The Ring Cycle, it is, arguably, the most monumental work of art ever created.

The Seattle Opera last performed the work (four operas in total) in 2013. You can read the Encore Arts Program of those productions, here. In 2018, the San Francisco Opera will showcase it. Learn more about those coming performances, here.

Known for writing complex pieces, rich in harmony and orchestration, other works of his include The Flying Dutchman, Parsifal and Tristan und Isolde.

Some facts about Richard Wagner:

He was a dog lover.

He was friends with Franz Liszt.

One of his most enduring pieces is his "Flight of the Valkyries."

Wagner built his own opera house, Bayreuth, to showcase his work. 

Later in life, he was plagued by angina and died of a heart attack at the age of 69.

An aria for Tristan and Isolde:

His opera, Parsifal: