In his early years, the future german leader drafted an opera based on an unfinished work by Wagner. Now, the musical manuscript is on display for the first time.
Beyond Wagner’s music, many might be surprised to learn that, when he was 20 years old, Adolf Hitler himself wrote an opera.
Wieland der Schmied (Wieland the Smith) was drafted by the future german leader in 1908 and based on an unfinished work of the same name by German composer Richard Wagner – his admiration for whom is well-documented.
In his first volume of Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote: “At the age of twelve, I saw… the first opera of my life, Lohengrin. In one instant I was addicted. My youthful enthusiasm for the Bayreuth Master [Wagner] knew no bounds.”
Now, a sheet from the manuscript is on display in Austria in a new exhibition of artefacts from the Führer’s early life, showing how his past shaped his ideology. A piano sketch of the first page was made by one of young Hitler’s few friends, August Kubizek.
The exhibition includes artefacts from the National Socialist leader’s early life, all collected between 1907 and 1920 by Kubizek who kept them as memories of his own youth, before realising they might be of historical importance.
Other objects include Hitler’s early paintings and architectural sketches, including one of a music hall, and letters and postcards written by Hitler to Kubizek.
As well as documenting his personal history, the exhibition also explores the political and social context in Austria at the turn of the 20th century.