Wagner and Bad-Lauchstädt

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday, 8 March 2013 | 5:11:00 pm

The house in which Wagner stayed and met his first wife, Minna Planer
Bad-Lauchstädt, a small town in Saxony-Anhalt, was a place of inspiration for Richard Wagner. Yet the link to one of the world's greatest composers is something hardly anyone knows about that these days.

Richard Wagner wanted to pack up his things and leave. It wasn't because in a mere two days he was set to conduct a production of Mozart's "Don Giovanni" without the luxury of a single rehearsal. Rather, it was the director of the Magdeburg Theater Company, Heinrich Bethmann, whom Richard Wagner found so off-putting. The director was unshaven, had a fondness for alchohol and had little regard for the social graces of the day. Wagner himself had, as he later wrote, "hit rock bottom."

It was at the end of July 1834 that Bethmann and his company found themselves in Bad-Lauchstädt and in desperate need of a new musical director. The job was offered to the then 21-year-old Wagner, an up-and-coming musical figure who had already grabbed attention with a series of powerful performances of his own compositions. Wagner, at that time without any fixed engagements, accepted the job at once, jumped into the next stagecoach bound for Bad-Lauchstädt…and was met with only disappointments. He intended to stay for one night and leave the very next day.

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