Richard Wagner (1913) Movie Script

A film biography of the 100th Anniversary
of the birth of The Great Master.
Part One: His youth.
Eight years old, Richard Wagner is present at the death of his stepfather,
Ludwig Geyer, whose last words are: "Will Richard be musically gifted?"
Two years later, Richard spends an important night in Leipzig with his Uncle Adolf an Aunt
Frederike, sleeping in the ceremonial bed of August "the Strong" in the home of Jeannette Thom.
At the age of 17, Wagner studies
with Cantor Weinlich in Leipzig.
At a celebratory dinner by Polish revolutionaries fleeing
to Paris, Wagner discovers his talent for conducting.
In 1834 Wagner, now 21 years of age, takes on his first employment as conductor at Lauchtstdt - as he
had fallen in love at first sight, with the beautiful Minna Planer, the star of the theatre company.
The conductor gets engaged to the Minna
Planer - under extraordinary circumstances.
On 24. November 1836, Wagner leads his wife into their future home. To furnish it, Wagner has
incurred substantial debts, which is a great source of worry to the the practical Minna.
Invoice For the esteemed conductor Wagner at Knigsberg for
furnishing a domicile: 247 Reichstaler Blankenstein, Furniture Maker.
Part Two:
Years of constant travelling
Wagner is pursued by his creditios as far as Riga, where he has, since 1838, become conuctor
of the Theatre. As he doesn't possess a passport, he is forced to escape in secret.
Dear Wagner, Return fortwith! The police are in your
house, Minna is in despair. Your friend Mller.
In 1839, he lees from
Russia by sea to Paris.
The tumultuous journey by sea gives him
the ideas for his "The Flying Dutchman".
In Paris, Wagner plays his opera "Rienzi" for the composer Meyerbeer, who
gives him a letter of recommendation to the Director of the Grand Opera.
My exteemed Duponchel! Herewith I recommend to you the young Wagner and his opera
"Rienzi". Please take on its production! The opera is brilliant! Meyerbeer.
Meyerbeer's letter of recommendation,
however, has no effect on Director Duponchel.
Wagner visit the composer Liszt in his hotel
to get support, likewise without success.
Wagner is increasingly in need of help. "The Flying Dutchman" is tormenting his spirit,
and Minna's complaints are leading him to despair. He close to breaking-point...
Leipzig 26. February 1842 Dear Richard! I have just been informed that your opera "Rienzi" has been accepted by the
Royal Court Opera in Dresden. Come here at once; I enclose the money for your journey Your brother in law, Brockhaus.
On 20. October 1842, Wagner's "Rienzi" is performed by
the Royal Opera in Dresden and is a resounding success.
At the age of 30, Richard Wagner becomes
the Royal Court conductor in Dresen.
In an optimistic mood, he furnishes his house luxuriously,
which again instils fear and trepidation in Minna.
On 2. January 1843, however, Wagner's position is severely unnerved
by the premiere of "The Flying Dutchman" which is a fiasco.
This and other new worries
affect his musical endeavours.
Complaints about Wagner lead the Intendant Von Lttichau to
admonish him sternly and to inform him of the King's displeasure.
To our Indentant Our conductor Wagner appears to have formed the opinion by
overestimating his own talent, that he is on a par with the great Meyerbeer.
Consequently, he has made such grave mistakes that it would
certainly be worth considering to ask him to offer his resignation.
On the other hand, his zeal and extraordinary achievements, which
have been brought to our notice, warrant giving him another chance.
In which case, attention should most certainly be
paid to his material cirumstances. Augustus Rex.
On 10. October 1845, to compound this disaster, his opera
"Tannhuser", due poor attendance, is also a flop.
In this same period, Wagner is exchanging ideas about his musical reforms with
the Russian revolutionary, Bakunin, who was staying in Dresden at this time.
The Royal Court conductor carried away by the prevailing excitement, is led to
speak at a political gathering about freedom of art and the freedom of mankind.
Wagner openly takes part in the
subsquent riots in Dresden in 1849.
Thanks to a coincidence, he avoids being taken prisoner, and manages to flee, unlike his fellow revolutionaries
of the Preliminary Revolutionary Government, Hbner, Martin and Bakunin, who arrested and tried.
Liszt in Weimar provides Wagner with a false passport and the
necessary money, enabling him to cross the Swiss border.
Warrant for Arrest The Royal Court conductor Richard Wagner, described below, due to
appear in court for his part in the havoc played out in this town, is on the run.
Therefore, the police requested to arrest the said
Wagner immediately if and when he re-enters the country.
Dresden, 18. May 1849 Von
Oppel The City Commander
Wagner is aged 37-38, of average
height, with long brown hair.
Part Three: Banishment.
His period in Zurich as a political refugee was extremely creative; In
November 1852 he recites his "Nibelungen Poems" to his circle of friends.
Inspired by the ideal relationship between himself and the beautiful wife
of his neighbor Otto Wesendonck, Wagner creates "Tristan and Isolde".
To my beloved Isolde Tristan.
Minna's jealousy and lack of tact destroys
not only, but also her own marriage.
In 1858, at the age of 45, Wagner
divorces his life's companion.
Lonely and deserted by all, he
now lives only for his work.
Broken and in despair in a guest house in Stuttgart, on 3. May 1864 he receives a message
from the new young King of Bavaria, Ludwig II., recalling him from his solitude.
His Majesty the King of Bavaria expresses his deep admiration for the Great Master and invites him to come to
Munich without delay. There he will find a comfortable home and every means to continue, unhindered, his creations.
Part four: A royal friendship.
In an attempt to use the idolatrous friendship of the King for Wagner for their
own end, Ministers and Jesuits attempt, unsuccessfully, to bribe Wagner.
Appeal for the establishment of a Catholic Peaople's Bank. Lord Klindworth has decided with support of the Holy
Father, to establish a Catholic Bank. The signatories to this appeal agree fully and wholly with this plan.
The dress rehearsal for "Tristan and Isolde" takes place in June 1865
in the Residenz Theater in Munich, with the King as the sole spectator.
The hostile ministers and Jesuits turn Wagner's life in Munich
into hell by attacks in the papers and other intrigues.
To my Cabinet Secretary Pfistermeister To be paid to Mister Richard Wagner from the
Royal coffers 50.000 Reichsthaler as an interest-free advance for life. Ludwig II.
To do Mister Wagner a special favour, the sum
has to be paid in small change. Pfistermeister.
On higher orders, we herewith pay you 50.000 Reichsthaler as an
interest-free advance for life. The Holders of the Royal Coffers.
Away with the barricade man!
Fellow Citizens! An adventurer, the spy Richard Wagner, is robbing our country. Let us request Ludwig
II. To refuse wagner residence in the countra. Everyone to sign the appeal to the King. The Committee.
The public incitements and an ultimatum by his ministers,
force Ludwig II. To move Wagner out of Munich.
Petition 40.000 citizens of Munich request Your Majesty
to ban Richard Wagner from the country. The Committee.
My beloved Friend, However much it grieves me, I have to request you to leave Munich for
a while. Believe me, I'm forced to act thus. My friendship for you will last forever.
Please remember me with friendship because, I dare say hornestly, I'm worthy of it. Who
can part us? I know you sympathise with me, as you can understand my deep suffering.
I couldn't do otherwise, please be convinced of that, and
don't doubt your best friend. Yours until death, Ludwig.
In the villa Triebschen at the lake of Lucerne, the Master finally finds
peace, in his loneliness, he seeks solace by composting "Die Meistersinger".
He was visited there by his Royal friend.
Now tired of life, Wagner toils at his "Nibelungen", until a new companion relieves
his lonely existence, Cosima, the ex-wife of the conductor Hans von Blow.
With the help of the Municipality of Bayreuth, represented by Mayor Muncker and the
banker Feustel, Wagner constructs his Festival Theatre, in the period 1873-1875.
Part Five: Bayreuth.
The Opera House in Bayreuth.
Villa Wahnfried.
In 1876, the performances of the Nibelungen Festival take place, to extraordinary
acclaim. These performances are attended by Ludwig II. And Wilhelm I., King of Prussian.
But only the unforgettable performances of "Parsifal" in
1882 finally crown the life work of the Immortal Master.
Only in Bayreuth Parsifal may be performed in all future solely. Pasifal
should never be presented on any theatre to the audience to the amusement.
On 13. February 1883, Richard
Wagner died in Venice.
The end.
Restoration and archive material