Wagner, Johanna



Noted German dramatic singer and tragedienne, niece of Richard Wagner, daughter of an elder brother of the great dramatic composer. Albert Wagner, the opera singer, was her father; her mother, born Elpise Gollman, was possessor of a voice of extraordinary compass. Johanna was born near Hanover and studied first with her father. At the age of five could sing everything she heard. At Würzburg and Bermburg she appeared on the stage as a child; in 1844 her uncle made arrangements for her to sing at the Royal Opera in Dresden, where she was so well liked that she was invited to remain for a long period. Living with her uncle during the completion of Tannhauser she studied the opera with him, and created the part of Elizabeth in 1845. Recognizing her brilliant promise, the King of Saxony in 1847 sent her to study in Paris under Garcia; after six months she returned to Germany, sang in Norma, Fidelio, Adriano, Suzanna, Donna Anna, Ernani, Euryanthe, and other operas. Her uncle's part in the troubles of 1848 led to her leaving Dresden for Hamburg, where she was engaged for 1849. The following year she was permanently enaged at the Royal Opera in Berlin, he became a very great favorite at the German capital, and in 1856 created a furore in London, her voice, grace and dramatic ability winning universal appreciation. She married Herr Landrath Jackmann in 1859, and two years later suffered the loss of her voice. She met this misfortune with courage, reappeared on the stage as an actress, won brilliant success, played Lady Macbeth, Marie Stuart, Queen Elizabeth, Medea, Sappho, and other roles. On taking leave of the stage in 1872 she was the recipient of many honors, the Emperor himself presented her with the gold medal for Arts and Sciences. This same year, her voice having to a considerable degree returned, she was   persuaded by her uncle to take part in the performance of Beethoven's Choral Symphony, given in celebration of the laying of the foundation stone of the Bayreuth Theatre. On the opening of the Bayreuth Theatre in 1876 she took the parts of Walküre and Norn. In 1882 she was appointed professor of dramatic singing in the Royal School of Music at Munich.