Richard Wagner was a 19th century German composer, who is well remembered for his vast operas, most of which he also wrote the librettos to. Along with Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring Cycle), which comprises of four operas, Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung, Wagner is also known for Der Fliegende Holländer, Tristan and Isolde, and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, as well as several others.
Although the historians tells us that Wagner was rather an unpleasant, violent, and tyrannical character, with strong anti-Semitic beliefs, there is no mistaking the fact that Wagner was also a music genius. When approaching Wagner's work, it is hard to imagine that this is a man who kept the company of composers like Rossini, as their two musical worlds feel so far removed from each other.
Wagner's operas are not for the faint-hearted, as they are scored for huge orchestras, and require large dramatic voices, and some of them can total 5 hours running time. But, there is something in his work for everyone. Opera newbies could start with Der Fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman), or the relatively short Das Rheingold to get a flavor of this epic work.
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