Cosima Wagner


Died aged c. 93

Francesca Gaetana Cosima Wagner (née Liszt; 24 December 1837 – 1 April 1930) was the daughter of the Hungarian composer and pianist Franz Liszt and Franco-German romantic author Marie d'Agoult. She became the second wife of the German composer Richard Wagner, and with him founded the Bayreuth Festival as a showcase for his stage works; after his death she devoted the rest of her life to the promotion of his music and philosophy. Commentators have recognised Cosima as the principal inspiration for Wagner's later works, particularly Parsifal. In 1857, after a childhood largely spent under the care of her grandmother and with governesses, Cosima married the conductor Hans von Bülow. Although the marriage produced two children, it was largely a loveless union, and in 1863 Cosima began a relationship with Wagner, who was 24 years her senior. They married in 1870; after Wagner's death in 1883 she directed the Bayreuth Festival for more than 20 years, increasing its repertoire to form the Bayreuth canon of ten operas and establishing the festival as a major event in the world of musical theatre. During her directorship, Cosima opposed theatrical innovations and adhered closely to Wagner's original productions of his works, an approach continued by her successors long after her retirement in 1907. She shared Wagner's convictions of German cultural and racial superiority, and under her influence, Bayreuth became increasingly identified with antisemitism. This was a defining aspect of Bayreuth for decades, into the Nazi era which closely followed her death there in 1930. Thus, although she is widely perceived as the saviour of the festival, her legacy remains controversial.

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Commemorated on 1 plaque

La Citta di Como Ricorda il soggiorno di Franz Liszt e Marie d'Agoult presso l'Albergo dell'Angelo in passato sito in questo luogo ove nacque il 24 Dicembre 1837 la figlia Cosima poi sposa di Richard Wagner

English translation: The City of Como recalls the stay of Franz Liszt and Marie d'Agoult at the Angel Hotel site in the past in this place where she was born December 24, 1837 the daughter Cosima then wife of Richard Wagner

BNL - Piazza Cavour, Como, Italy where they was born (1837)