No Ukrainian music lover will ignore the Donbass Opera’s coming tour of Ukraine. The Donetsk team will present their last season’s most ambitious premiere, The Flying Dutchman, with major parties performed by international cast brought from Austria, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine. The show will come to Odesa on September 6-7, Lviv on September 12-13 and finally to Kyiv on September 27-28. The German classical composer’s fans will be able to immerse themselves in the romantic world of opera at the concert “Gala Wagner” to be held at the National Opera of Ukraine on September 21.
Meanwhile, we now offer The Day’s readership a chance to take a look at a place associated with his life. Even fanatical supporters of the Nibelung cycle’s author do not frequent the composer’s house museum in Lucerne (Switzerland), where Wagner lived from 1866 to 1872 and wrote a significant part of his immortal scores. It was here that the maestro created the third act of Tristan and Isolde and completed work on the operas Siegfried and The Master-Singers of Nuremberg. It was in Lucerne, too, that Wagner went on to create the final opera of The Ring of the Nibelung tetralogy which he named Twilight of the Gods.
The street leading to the composer’s residence is called Richard Wagner Weg, with the house itself numbered 27... On a lovely calm and wet morning, I see no one around, walking down a greenery-flanked footpath. The house opens its doors at 10 o’clock sharp... Just think about it: one of the greatest geniuses of all time woke up every morning here, walked around and admired the scenery! Meanwhile, all the press in the world was tirelessly reporting on his next premiere. It was not long before his name would enter all the encyclopedias on Earth.
The peaceful villa Tribschen, where the Wagners enjoyed, perhaps, the happiest years of their lives, has been converted into a perfectly equipped museum. Its rooms still house antique furniture and the artist’s personal belongings. The exhibits also include letters, facsimiles of his numerous autographs, paintings, and musical instruments. The house’s windows offer a magnificent view of the Alps and Lake Vierwaldstaetter, with a small pier located here since times immemorial.
Currently, the second floor of the museum houses modern media equipment, allowing visitors to get a seat at a monitor to watch and listen to a lot of documentary films and music devoted to Wagner’s life and works. Books are on offer, too. It looks like a real Wagner fan may spend many days just exploring the floor’s three rooms. The third floor of the building is off-limits for tourists, as it hosts no exhibitions at the moment.
Property rights in this place date back to the 15th century! Wagner himself described living in this villa as idyllic. The museum is now hosting an interesting exhibition, which includes not only authentic household items (including clothing, rings, manuscripts, and other objects), but also contemporary posters, photos, etc. A number of essential pieces on display reflect the era, including sculptures of Cosima Wagner and Mathilde Wesendonck. The exhibition’s creators have managed to avoid conventionality, so characteristic for famous artists’ house museums. The credit for this achievement goes to the museum’s director Katja Fleischer.
The museum holds special events from time to time. By the way, one of these made it possible to visit... a real dinner party of the 1860s! Visitors saw a formally set table with cards carrying names of Wagner, Liszt, their spouses, contemporary conductors and other musicians. A fireplace, paintings and mirrors surrounded the table. The table also featured a contemporary guestbook where one could leave a notice of one’s visit, while the museum’s first floor houses the general guestbook intended for visitors from around the world. I left a message on behalf of the Ukrainian nation in both of them.