Wagner, Johanna

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Wagner, Johanna

Wagner, Johanna, German soprano; b. Lohnde, near Hannover, Oct. 13, 1826; d. Würzburg, Oct. 16, 1894. She was a natural daughter of Lieutenant Bock von Wülfingen of Hannover and was adopted by Richard Wagner’s brother, Albert; she was thus regarded as Wagner’s niece. Of a precocious talent, she acted on the stage as a small child; through Wagner she obtained a position at the Dresden Opera when she was 17, producing an excellent impression as Agathe in Der Freischütz,and was engaged as a regular member. She studied the part of Elisabeth in Tannhäuserwith Wagner and sang it at the premiere of the opera on Oct. 19,1845, when she was barely 19 years old. In 1846 she went to Paris for further study with Pauline Viardot-Garcia (1846-48), then was engaged at the Hamburg Opera (1849) and finally at the Court Opera in Berlin (1850-61). In 1856 she made her London debut at Her Majesty’s Theatre. In 1859 she married the district judge Alfred Jachmann. After 1862 she acted mainly on the dramatic stage, reappearing in opera at the Bayreuth Festival in 1876 in the parts of Schwertleite and the 1stNorn in the first complete mounting of the Ringcycle. She taught at the Royal Music School in Munich (1882-84), then privately.


J. Kapp and H. Jachmann, Richard Wagner und seine erste “Elisabeth,” J. J.-W.(Berlin, 1927; Eng. tr. as Wagner and His First Elisabeth,London, 1944).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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