Liszt, Cosima

BORN 25 Dec 1837, Bellagio - DIED 1 Apr 1930, Bayreuth
REAL NAME Liszt, Cosima Franceska Gaetana
GRAVE LOCATION Bayreuth, Bayern: Villa 'Wahnfried' (in the garden (ashes))

Cosima Liszt was the illigitimate daughter of Franz Liszt and countess Marie d'Agoult. Later Liszt legitimized her, het sister Blandine and het brother Daniel. Blandine and Cosima were educated in Paris by the governess of their mother and by the mother of Hans von Bülow. In 1853 she saw her father for the first time in many years in Paris. Richard Wagner was with him and he noticed her shyness.

Cosima married Von Bülow in 1857 who had been a favourite pupil of Liszt and was by then a leading conductor. During their honeymoon they visited Wagner in Zürich. It wasn't a happy marriage, but Cosima gave birth to two daughters, Daniela and Blandine.

In 1863 Cosima and Wagner met in Berlin and they decided that they belonged to each other. Cosima became his mistress and lived with him in Triebschen. She gave birth to two more daughters, Isolde and Eva, before she left Von Bülow for good in 1868. She had some trouble obtaining a divorce from the church, but in 1870 she and Wagner were married in Luzern. In 1869 she had given birth to a son, Siegfried. Von Bülow was hurt, but he accepted the situation and remained friends with Wagner.

Every now and then Wagner took a mistress, but always returned to the woman who lived for him and his work. They moved to Bayreuth in 1872, where a new theatre was built especially for Wagner's opera's. Wagner, Cosima and their children moved to the villa Wahnfried in 1874. Wahnfried is now a Wagner-Museum.

After his unexpected death in 1883 in Venice Cosima clung to his body for 24 hours before she was willing to let him go. She took over the management of the Festspiele in Bayreuth. By 1907 she was seriously ill and Siegfried succeeded her as the leader of the Festspiele. Cosima lived for many more years at the villa Wahnfried and was blind at the time of her death. She was cremated in Coburg and her ashes were buried in the grave of Richard Wagner in the garden of Wahnfried.

Cosima translated Hebbel's "Maria Magdalena" from German to French.

• Father: Liszt, Franz
• Mother: Agoult, Marie Christine Sophie de Flavigny, comtesse d'
• Daughter: Bülow, Isolde von
• Son: Wagner, Siegfried
• Daughter: Bülow, Eva von
• Daughter: Bülow, Daniela von
• Husband: Bülow, Hans von (1857-1870, Berlin)
• Husband: Wagner, Richard (1870-, Luzern: Matthäuskirche)
• Brother: Liszt, Daniel

Related persons
• was a friend of Franz, Helene, Freifrau von Heldburg
• was painted by Lenbach, Franz von
• knew Mahler, Gustav
• was a friend of Meyerbeer, Cornelie
• was a friend of Richter, Hans
• knew Strauss, Richard Georg

1853/10/10: First meeting between Richard Wagner and Cosima Liszt
1856/4/20: Hans von Bülow asks Franz Liszt for the hand of his daughter Cosima
At first Liszt wouldn't give his blessing because he thought Bülow, with his strange moods and headaches, a scary person. He hoped that she would marry a nobleman. After Cosima's mother Marie d'Agoult declared herself against the marriage, Liszt changed his mind and gave his approval.
1862/11/1: Hans and Cosima von Bülow meet Richard Wagner in Leipzig
There was a concert where Hans von Bülow would play Liszt's new piano concert and Wagner would conduct the Tannhäuser ouverture and a new prelude to "The Meistersinger". Wagner's young friend Wendelin Weissheimer would also present his work. Wagner later stated in his autobiography that at this day he experienced his first feelings for Cosima and that he hardly noticed the music.
1863/11/28: Richard Wagner and Cosima Liszt become lovers
Wagner was staying in Berlin because Cosima's husband Hans von Bülow had asked him to attend a concert. When Von Bülow was busy with the repititions Wagner and Cosima made a coach ride during which they confessed to each other that they belonged together. That night Wagner was staying in Von Bülow's house.
1864/10/14: Fransz Liszt and his daughter Cosima visit Emile Ollivier at St. Tropez
Listz's daughter Blandine was married to Ollivier, but she had died in 1862. The next day Liszt left for Rome and Cosima for Germany.
1865/4/10: Hans von Bülow conducts the first repetition of "Tristan und Isolde"
On the same day his wife Cosima bore a daughter, that was named Isolde. Isolde's father was Richard Wagner, the composer of "Tristan and Isolde".

• Blunt, Wilfrid, The Dream King, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1973
Grosse Frauen der Weltgeschichte, Neuer Kaiser Verlag, Klagenfurt, 1987
Encyclopaedia Britannica
• Hamann, Brigitte, Winifred Wagner oder Hitlers Bayreuth, Piper, München, 2003


The grave of Richard and Cosima Wagner in the garden of the villa Wahnfried in Bayreuth, Bavaria.
Picture by Androom (25-08-1996)


Cosima Wagner, painted by Franz von Lenbach.


Cosima Wagner statue near the Festspielhaus in Bayreuth.
Picture by Androom (02 Mar 2009)


Liszt, Daniel

Published: 1 Jan 2006
Last update: 12 Aug 2012