WAGNER, Richard, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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Der Ring in Riga.

WAGNER, Richard (1813-1883). Composer.
Fine Autograph Letter Signed to Julius Ruthardt, director of the Riga Opera House, 3 pages 8vo with original envelope, Bayreuth, 5 February 1879. With transcription and translation.

Wagner is replying to a request from Ruthardt that The Ring should be staged in Riga.
He insists for every theatre that the complete work in four parts be staged, and in the correct order beginning with Rheingold. He mentions the theatres of Leipzig, Mannheim and Cologne and states that his terms are 10%. For Riga he sets out his terms in four clauses, extending to 30 years after his death.
'... In addition to the assurance of so-called "tantièmes" or author's rights, I ask every theatre to provide a guarantee that the complete 4-part work will be performed in full - even if in successive parts - and in the sequence of the parts, that is starting with the "Rheingold". I make claim on that guarantee through a partial prepayment of the tantièmes. Leipzig, Cologne, Mannheim etc. pay me tantièmes of 10 per cent of the takings for each evening (including the subscription quota), and I claim one half of this over a considerable period as an advance payment.
 Accordingly I should wish to have the following points established for
1. Acceptance of obligation by an immediately payable advance payment of 4000 Marks (as referred to above)
2. Undertaking to pay tantièmes of 10 per cent (on the basis stated above)
3. This agreement to continue for 30 years after my death (according to the provisions of the German Reichsgesetz)
4. Advance payment to be repaid by the retention of half of each tantième payment, so that only 5 per cent of each evening's takings would be payable to the author until the advance had been paid off in full.
Despite his stipulations most opera houses did not perform the whole cycle, and in fact usually started with Die Walküre. The first performances at Riga were (in the correct order) on 26 October 1890, 25 October 1889, 28 March 1898 and 25 February 1902.
 In his early years Wagner had himself been Kapellmeister at Riga.

£2850 [No: 26749]
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