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Subject: pets and opera: Wagner's dog Peps in Lohengrin
From: Martin Rommel <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Martin Rommel <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 17 Nov 2012 15:43:35 -0800
Content-Type:text/plain
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Richard Wagner was famous dog-lover. One his dogs is even buried on the grounds of Wahnfried. Here is Wagner's account of his beloved dog Peps "a kind of spaniel", who had been his companion throughtout the Dresden period. Later while composing Lohengrin Wagner considered 'training' Peps to appear in the opera. Here in a letter dated a month before the production of Rienzi, Wagner writes: 
As we still have no prospect whatever of human young, 
we have to 
make up with dogs still. We have another now, just 
6 weeks old, a droll 
little beast ; his name is Peps, or Striezel 
(because he looks as if he had 
come from the gingerbread- 
market). 
 
And here in another letter Wagner writes of his beloved Peps years later:
Peps had been rather unwell just before my return but after 
welcoming me with the greatest 
effusion he picked up again 
somewhat, and the day of our departure for 
Seelisberg was 
already fixed whither, as I wrote you, dog and bird were to 
accompany us. Then serious symptoms suddenly set in and we 
postponed our 
journey for two days to nurse the poor dear dying 
beast, who shewed me a 
truly heart-rending love to the last, and 
even on the verge of death kept 
turning his head or finally his 
pleading eyes towards me, if I moved a few 
paces away. Then 
without a cry, without a struggle, he peacefully expired 
beneath 
our hands in the night from the 9th to l0 th. The following 
noon the pair of us buried him in a garden by the house. I have 
wept 
without cease I could not help it and felt a grief and 
sorrow for the dear 13-year friend, who had always worked and 
walked with me, which have taught 
me plainly that the world 
exists in our heart and our intuition alone . . . 
Ah, how often 
I'm thoroughly sick of life ! And yet it keeps returning to us 
in some fresh form, to lure us to suffering and sorrow once 
more.
 
Here is a watercolour of Minna Wagner with Peps: 'Minna Wagner with little dog Peps', Clementine Stockar-Escher, Zürich 1853 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Minna_Wagner_mit_H%C3%BCndchen.JPG

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