© Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, Siegfried 2019


First performance of Wagner's Rule Britannia
The performance of Wagner's overture "Rule Britannia" on 25 November 2018 at 16:00 at the Philharmonie Berlin is the first performance of this composition worldwide since the 19th century
Until now, this work had led a shadowy existence, as it existed only in a very free (distorted) arrangement by Felix Mottl, in which it can also be heard on the only CD recording of the Overture on Naxos.

Richard Wagner had tried in vain to have his composition, completed on 15 March 1837 in Königsberg, performed by the Philharmonic Society in London.  He himself conducted the premiere on 19 March 1838 (Russian calendar) in the Schwarzhäupter Hall in Riga.  In 1878 a further performance took place in Dresden.
On January 2, 1905, the British premiere under Sir Henry Wood finally took place in the Queen's Hall in London. But this was probably the arrangement of the overture by Felix Mottl, which was published two years later, in November 1907 by Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig and by Metzler & Co. Ltd. in London.

The Berliner Symphoniker under the baton of British conductor Lionel Friend are thus the first orchestra in the world to perform this politically-minded composition by Richard Wagner.  The piece is listed as WWV 42, in the original form known since the publication of volume 18,2 of the Richard Wagner Complete Edition of the works of Richard Wagner in 1997 and published in the meantime by B. Schott' and Söhne Mainz as performance material.