Segments in this Video

Portrayals of Women (03:39)


Richard Wagner was writing an article on women and humanity when he had a heart attack. He and his wife fought over his interest in an English soprano that morning. Giuseppe Verdi created powerful female characters after the death of his first wife.

Wagner's Characters (02:58)

Wagner's wife was devoted to him and gave up her career as an actress. Female characters sacrificed or committed suicide in his works.

Wagner's Romantic Affair (06:45)

After the revolt in 1949, Wagner fled Germany and traveled to Zurich without his wife. He became infatuated Mathilde Wesendonck, inspiring "Tristan und Isolde." When Otto Wesendonck discovered the relationship, she threatened to jump off the balcony.

Verdi's Female Characters (02:19)

Giuseppina Strepponi opened a singing academy after a crisis with her voice. She and Verdi fell in love and moved to Busseto. The residents shunned and threatened the unmarried pair while they lived at the Palazzo Orlandi.

"La Traviata" (03:01)

After retiring to Sant'Agata, Verdi composed an opera about a fallen woman, influenced by Strepponi's life.

Wagner's Women (06:46)

Wagner began a relationship with his second wife while she was married to his friend. Hans von Bulow ignored the existence of Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt's illegitimate children with Wagner. Cosima continued the anti-Semitic course of his legacy; Winifred Wagner was determined to keep the Bayreuth Festival alive.

Credits: And the Women (00:22)

Credits: And the Women

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And the Women

Part of the Series : Wagner vs. Verdi
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $99.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $149.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $99.95



This program looks at the women who stood at the sides of the two composers—Minna Wagner, Margarethe Wesendonck, Cosima Wagner, and Giuseppina Strepponi—and we find their equivalents in the composers' works. Wagner's relationships were tumultuous, and frequently adulterous. Verdi's second wife, Giuseppina Strepponi, was the model for many of the great female figures in his operas—cheerful, but somewhat wicked. Christian Thielemann, Rolando Villazón, Gottfried Wagner, Hans Neuenfels and Andrís Nelsons reflect on the significance of these images of women. Wagner's descendant, Eva Wagner-Pasquier, tries to fathom the eternal question of the mystery of femininity in art, while young sopranos such as Mojca Erdmann and Anja Harteros answer questions about the challenge of changing between submissive and self-confident female roles. Finally, an animation simulates what a "Verdi woman" or "Wagner woman" could look like today.

Length: 27 minutes

Item#: BVL192660

Copyright date: ©2012

Closed Captioned

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