Ladies In Bayreuth
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Return to Book. Preview — Cosima Wagner by Oliver Hilmes. Stewart Spencer Translator. The High Priestess of the Wagnerian cult, Cosima lived on for almost fifty years, crafting the image of Richard Wagner through her organizational ability and ideological tenacity.

The first book to make use of the available documentation at Bayreuth, this biography explores the achievements of this remarkable and obsessive woman while illuminating a still-hidden chapter of European cultural history. Get A Copy. Kindle Editions. Published first published May 17th More Details Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please up.

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To ask other readers questions about Cosima Wagnerplease up. Who translated this book into English? See 1 question about Cosima Wagner…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Engaging from the beginning and hard to put down.

Cosima wagner: the lady of bayreuth

Perhaps I should have giving it five stars. A strangely fascinating read about a thoroughly unpleasant bunch of spoilt, lying, back-stabbing, psychologically damaged and anti-Semitic people. Cosima was incredibly hard working though; a strong, uncompromising woman, an organisational genius with one mission. Still, clearly broken by her upbringing; mostly absent parents, a loving grandma, yes, but from whom she was torn away in order to live with Engaging from the beginning and hard to put down.

Still, clearly broken by her upbringing; mostly absent parents, a loving grandma, yes, but from whom she was torn away in order to live with the most frightening of governesses! The book had me gasp in disbelief, but also laugh out loud, in particular at parts involving Ludvig II of Bavaria, bless his little cotton socks and Disney castles.

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The book was extremely well researched and I loved all the quotes and extracts from letters etc. Looking forward to reading Hilmes' new book about Cosima's father Franz Liszt. Nov 19, Ghost of the Library rated it it was amazing Shelves: 20th-centuryeuropean-historyclassical-musicgerman-historyfrancecomposerbiographyworld-war-2world-war Cosima Wagner Engaging fascinating read, controversial character, one of those once in a generation kind of personalities that leaves no one indifferent to her Jan 08, Susan rated it really liked it.

Cosima Wagner: The Lady of Bayreuth is a very thorough biography of this woman who can only be called a force of nature. She was born the illegitimate daughter of pianist Franz Liszt, composer of crazy-hard piano pieces.

‘finally!’ bayreuth festival gets a female conductor for first time

Liszt and his countess l One of the rabbit holes I encountered in writing about Mad King Ludwig was, of course, composer Richard Wagner. Liszt and his countess lady friend had three children together, including Cosima, but like many artiste-types, they never felt the need to marry and so Cosima was raised largely by her grandmother and later by stern governesses.

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Encouraged by her father, Cosima married conductor Hans von Bulow when she was The marriage was not a success, although they had two daughters, Daniela and Blandine. Cosima met composer Richard Wagner and they began an affair, which apparently everyone except von Bulow was aware of. Richard Wagner is the subject of many books himself — sure, he was a great composer.

The bayreuth festival to have a female conductor for the first time

But he was also egotistical and sounds like he would be terrible to live with. He had a huge sense of entitlement and felt he should have the best of everything.

One thing in the book which fascinated me was how gossipy the newspapers of the day were. There was no internet or TV or celeb mags back then, so I guess the newspapers fulfilled that role. When Cosima and Wagner finally had the longed-for son, Siegfried, von Bulow and Cosima divorced at last.

With von Bulow out of the way, life for the Wagners became as normal as it ever would be. Twenty-four years younger than Wagner, Cosima was 45 when he died in Italy of a heart attack in Even beyond the music, she promoted German pride and anti-Semitism, relentlessly picking at Jewish musician Hermann Levi who conducted many of the performances.

Cosima insisted on deifying her late husband.

When a tenor came to audition for a part in an upcoming production and sang a piece by another composer, Cosima was shocked and asked him if he could sing something by Wagner. She was known by rulers and the social elites far and wide. A rift developed between Isolde and her husband Franz Beidler, and the other Wagners. The reasons for this are a bit fuzzy, but Isolde ended up being disinherited from the considerable money coming into the Wagners by that point, and most likely this led to her early death from tuberculosis at age It is enough that I can tell my conscience that Mama never suffered on of me.

Eva had married at 41 and had no children, and so securing the family dynasty fell to Siegfried, who was gay not that Cosima knew or would admit this. Siegfried Wagner with his wife and children in the garden of their villa 'Wahnfried' at Bayreuth, Bavaria In the s, Hitler came onto the scene.

After their children were born, Siegfried Wagner returned to his affairs with men and emotionally abandoned Winifred. Cosima died in at the age of She had lived through huge social changes and had been witness to much of the musical history of the 19th century and much 20th century history as well. Step over, Hillary Clinton: Cosima Wagner was a woman of power way before her time.

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View 2 comments. My husband genuinely enjoys the music and legendary ideas behind the operas.

The writing is accessible and the tone is conversational. Hilmes poses the questions you might be thinking, and then tries to answer them.

4. the first lady of bayreuth (–)

As she made herself organisationally indispensible, and built the reputation of his music, her reflected power grew. The children appeared to be dynasty fodder, groomed to take over the family business, but not all were able.


The biographer chronicles this and allows the reader to judge this tenacious flaw.

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But she certainly is fascinating - all the more so when put into the perspective of her times and mileu as deftly as Hilmes does.


For the first time in its year history, the Bayreuth opera festival has been opened by a female conductor.