Wednesday 22 May 2013

Wagner's 59th birthday, 22 May 1872

According to Cosima's Diary:

Birthday! I wish R. many happy returns very simply this time, for he is preparing the great treat himself. Daniela recites to him a little poem written by Clemens, the children present him with a Bible; Fidi very pretty in the blouse embroidered by Countess Bassenheim. Everything in good order, but rain and rain, not a single ray of subshine in the offing! - R. relates that in a dream he saw Fidi with his face full of wounds. What can this mean? - We drive to the meeting place, Feustel's house, rain, rain, but despite it all in good spirits. Arrival of the King's telegram, which is to be enclosed in the capsule with other things. R. then goes to the festival site, where, in spite of the rain, countless people - including women - had gathered, and lays the foundation stone. The speeches, however, are made in the oepra house. In Feustel's house I give Herr Julius Lang (who in a letter from Vienna had told me that he had sent Prince Bismarck a telegram about the concert in Vienna) a piece of my mind concerning his compromising activities with regard to our affaris during the past 10 years. I did it in fear and trembling, but I did it, so as from now on to be rid of such an individual. - Dinner at the Fantaisie with Standhartner, who, like everybody else, praised the behaviour of the children, particularly of Fidi, during the ceremony. At 5 o'clock the performance, beginning with the Kaisermarsch. The 9th Symphony was quite magnificent, everyone feeling himself freed from the burden of mortal existence; at the conclusion sublime words from R. on what this celebration means to him! - Then to the banquet. Before the concert a Frau von Meyendorff, just arrived from Weimar, handed over a letter from my father - the letter very nice, but the woman, unfortunately, very unpleasant. Her manner is cold and disapproving. - At the banquet R. proposes the first toast to the King, then to Bayreuth; we leave at about half past nine. Niemann and Betz had left earlier out of wouned vanity. I sit with Frau von Schl., and attempt to converse with Frau von Meyendorff; because of her obstinacy the conversation takes place in French. R. enters during it and is vexed with the ugly tone introduced; an angry mood on his part, sorrow on mine. In the end he returns to the banquet, I stay behind with Marie Schl., Marie Dönhoff, and Count Hohenthal, Home at 12 o'clock. (Count Krockow gives R. a leopard which he shot in Africa.)