Ludwig II, King of Bavaria, connected with Wagner’s characters on a more personal wavelength than any other individual in history. Because of his rarefied upbringing and consequently lofty worldview, he saw the great composer’s art as none of his contemporaries could. In Ludwig, Wagner found his perfect audience, a man uniquely equipped to appreciate the grandiose passions presented in his work. It was as a result of the remarkable man he was, and the singular life he lived, that Ludwig regarded the world of Wagner with such fervor.
By examining the characters in Wagner’s operas which would have held a particular fascination for Ludwig, particularly the swan knight Lohengrin, we can achieve some insight into the power that Wagner’s art asserted over the king throughout his life.
Jon David Stroud, ’15
Majors: Art History, Classical Studies
Sponsor: James Martin