Museum Rietberg, Zürich, Switzerland
The Museum Rietberg with its three 19th century villas is located in the middle of the most beautiful park in the city of Zurich, Rieterpark. In the heart of the extensive garden is the villa built in 1857 by order of Otto and Mathilde Wesendonck.
Otto Wesendonck led his international silk trading company from Zurich, and his wife, Mathilde, knew how to lead a hospitable house open to a variety of artists, intellectuals and scientists. The Wesendoncks were especially captivated by the composer Richard Wagner, who had been to Zurich since 1849. In 1857, they provided the composer and his wife Minna with a house in the immediate vicinity of their new villa (now Villa Schönberg), which Wagner called his “Asylum on the Green Hill”. Between the young Mathilde Wesendonck and the composer developed an intimate friendship. Mathilde Wesendonck, Wagner, has been completely captivated by the fiery letters and love affidavits he wrote to her during his sixteen month stay on the “Green Hill”. Inspired by this love he completed the original of “Tristan and Isolde” and wrote the first act of this opera on paper – a star hour of the European musical history!
Visit Switzerland. Epic Switzerland Adventure Route © Monika Newbound