COSIMA WAGNER
The Lady of Bayreuth

OLIVER HILMES
354pp 30 ILLUS 2011 LIST PRICE: £14.99 (P) B818

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Description
This biography paints a revealing picture of the extraordinary Cosima Wagner, illegitimate daughter of Franz Liszt, wife of the conductor Hans von Bulow, then mistress and subsequently wife of Richard Wagner. After Wagner's death in 1883 Cosima played a crucial role in the promulgation and politicisation of his works for almost fifty years, assuming control of the Bayreuth Festival and transforming it into a shrine to German nationalism. The first book to make use of documentation at Bayreuth, it explores the achievements of this remarkable and obsessive woman while illuminating a chapter of European cultural history.

. . . offers a clear and scrupulous insight into how she created and stoked the peculiar mania that infected the Wagner cult. CLASSICAL MUSIC