1834 Wagner Christopher Columbus Overture

THURSDAY, July 23, 2020

Wagner Christopher Columbus Overture 1834, age 21

Who knew?

I’ve played You Don’t Know Jack with my family, and one of the games makes you guess what statements are true and which are lies.

So I can imagine this:

Wagner wanted to write an opera about Christopher Columbus: True or false?

Without hesitation I would have vote “no”. And I would have been wrong.

As Slappy the Squirrel always said,”Who knew? So slap me.”

A bit of the history…

The overture to Theodor Apel’s play “Christoph Columbus” was written for a staging in Magdeburg by Bethmann’s troupe. Apel, a close friend of Wagner and two years younger, was well-to-do, and of material assistance to his friend, as occasion arose in these earlier years. He made a significant financial contribution towards the staging of his indifferent drama. The overture was used by Wagner on later occasions and through the help of Meyerbeer, whose recommendation to Dresden was to lead to the staging of Rienzi there, was able to hear it played in Paris in 1840. The music is effective enough, a fine enough introduction to the play, the events of which it clearly adumbrates.

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