Wilhelm Richard Wagner (22 May 1813 – 13 February 1883) was a German composer, conductor, theatre director and
polemicistprimarily known for his operas (or "music dramas", as they were later called). Wagner's compositions, particularly those
of hislater period, are notable for their complex texture, rich harmonies and orchestration, and the elaborate use of leitmotifs:
musicalthemes associated with individual characters, places, ideas or plot elements. Unlike most other opera composers, Wagner
wroteboth the music and libretto for every one of his stage works. Perhaps the two best-known extracts from his works are the
Rideof the Valkyries from the opera Die Walküre, and the Wedding March (Bridal Chorus) from the opera Lohengrin.