Richard Wagner in Salzburg

In mid-August 1861, Richard Wagner spent a night in pouring rain in Salzburg.

He had previously been thoroughly searched at the Austrian border. Franz Liszt had given him a box of valuable cigars, which he had hidden individually under his laundry. An attempt to bribe the customs officer was unsuccessful. The man took the money and searched him anyway!

Some of Wagner’s descendants, however, remained. His great-grandson Wieland came to Salzburg to study, fell in love and soon afterwards I was born. My father’s cousin, Nike, met a similar fate. Her husband also lives in Salzburg.

My family now lives just a stone’s throw from the house where Peter Cornelius, Richard’s best friend, composed his opera The Cid (1865).

And of course the festival! Let us interpret the suggestion of the conductor Hans Richter to organize a festival for Mozart in Salzburg generously and claim that Bayreuth was a role model for Salzburg.

“If I want to hear Wagner, I go to Salzburg,” said my great-grandmother Winifred Wagner. An incomparable compliment for her good friend Herbert von Karajan, who had been accused by her son Wieland of impairing the performance of the soloists with his incorrect tempos and who from then on no longer conducted in Bayreuth.

Due to this close interweaving of the protagonists, Salzburg is an integral part of the Wagner cosmos, which is why it is high time for a Richard Wagner Society.


Verena Lafferentz

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