Classical Notes: Irish Isolde set for a glorious homecoming

Why on earth did the epic composer Richard Wagner write an opera about an Irish princess when he had never stepped foot on the Emerald Isle?

15th September, 2012
Miriam Murphy (Isolde) and Lars Cleveman (Tristan) during rehearsals for the new production of Wagner's opera.

Why on earth did the epic composer Richard Wagner write an opera about an Irish princess when he had never stepped foot on the Emerald Isle?

Nobody knows for certain, but it may have had something to do with the fact that he was carrying on an affair with Mathilde Wesendonck, the wife of a wealthy friend and sponsor, and had set five of her poems to music at the peak of his brief infatuation...

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