Friedelind Wagner

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Friedelind Wagner
Born (1918-03-29)29 March 1918
Bayreuth, Germany
Died 8 May 1991(1991-05-08) (aged 73)
Herdecke, Germany
Cause of death
Liver disease
Residence Haus Wahnfried, Bayreuth
Nationality German
Ethnicity White
Alma mater Sorbonne
Occupation Opera director
Known for Member of Wagner family and outspoken critic of German dictator Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich
Home town Lucerne, Switzerland
Parents Siegfried Wagner and Winifred Wagner
Relatives Richard Wagner, Wieland Wagner, Wolfgang Wagner, Verena Wagner

Friedelind Wagner (29 March 1918 – 8 May 1991) was the daughter of German opera composer Siegfried Wagner and his English wife, Winifred Williams and the granddaughter of the composer Richard Wagner. Born in Bayreuth, she was known by the nickname "Die Maus" or "Mausi".[1] Along with other members of her family, from early in life Friedelind Wagner was involved with the Bayreuth Festspielhaus. In 1936, she began work as an assistant to Heinz Tietjen but her outspoken criticism of close family friend Adolf Hitler and the policies of the Third Reich led to her leaving Germany in 1939. She lived for a short time in Switzerland before emigrating first to England where she began writing anti-Nazi columns for the Daily Sketch newspaper.

With the help of Arturo Toscanini, in 1941 Wagner moved to the United States where she became involved with radio broadcasts of anti-Nazi propaganda. She also helped Professor Henry A. Murray, Director of the Harvard Psychological Clinic plus psychoanalyst Walter C. Langer and other experts to create a 1943 report for the OSS designated as the Analysis of the Personality of Adolph Hitler. With writer Page Cooper, in 1945 Friedelind Wagner wrote her memoirs "Heritage of Fire." Published in English in New York City by Harper & brothers, it was released in London in 1948 as "The Royal Family of Bayreuth."

Wagner eventually returned to work at the Bayreuth Festival and in 1976 was part of the team that made the documentary film "Wagner:The Making of the Ring" which was filmed during the creation of the Pierre Boulez/Patrice Chéreau Ring. The Times wrote: "This (Boulez/Chéreau) Ring is the most important single event in the democratization of opera and will put opera back at the center of all the arts, where it belongs."

As a student of Friedelind Wagner, American conductor Michael Tilson Thomas was a Musical Assistant and Assistant Conductor at the Bayreuth Festival.

In her latter years Friedelind Wagner made her home in Lucerne, Switzerland. Never married, she died in a hospital in Herdecke, Germany, in 1991.

Wagner family home, Haus Wahnfried where Friedelind grew up.

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Haag, John (2002). "Wagner, Friedelind". Women in World History, Vol. 16: Vict-X. Waterford, CT: Yorkin Publications. pp. 105–108. ISBN 0-7876-4075-1. 

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