A Day Like This

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12 May 1812 COSIMA WAGNER records in her diary Richard Wagner's first concert at Bayreuth: 'Drove to the concert at twelve. I, in the director's box, can follow every movement of R's face. Fine, packed hall, an indescribable reception, mounds of laurel leaves; at the conclusion, since the calls do not cease, R speaks a few words. During the 'Magic Fire Music' a thunderstorm broke, which added a lot more still to the effect; R said that the Greeks regarded this as a good sign and he would do the same, and he expressed his hope of receiving true sympathy and support in Vienna for his German venture (the building of the Wagner Festival Theatre at Bayreuth). (With Gluck's overture dropped, the programme was: Beethoven's Eroica, music from Tannhauser, Tristan und Isolde Prelude and the 'Magic Fire Music'.) At lunch Richter arrived, just as usual, splendid and excellent. He makes his singers pay fines when they alter something in the operas]'