Wagner in Riga – Cosmos Tour

By sandra. Filed in Art, Cosmos Jewels of the Baltic Tour, Europe, Latvia  |  
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In 1839, composer  Richard Wagner was a conductor at the Court Theatre in Riga, Latvia. His extravagant lifestyle and his wife Minna’s retirement from the stage led him to run up huge debts. He devised a plan to flee his creditors by escaping to Paris (via London) where he could make some money by getting Rienzi performed at the Paris Opéra.

Unfortunately, his plan turned to disaster when his passport was seized by the authorities on behalf of his creditors. Undeterred, he and Minna made a dangerous and illegal crossing over the Prussian border, during which Minna suffered a miscarriage. A ship’s (Thetis) captain agreed to take them without passports. Traveling through storms (the ship at one point took refuge in the Norwegian fjords at Tvedestrand), the 8-day trip plunked them in London 3 weeks after leaving Riga.

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