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Work data
Original title: Rienzi, the last of the tribunes
Punishment of Rienzi, Act IV

Punishment of Rienzi, Act IV

Original language: German
Music: Richard Wagner
Libretto : Richard Wagner
Literary source: Rienzi, the Last of the Roman Tribunes , novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton
Premiere: October 20, 1842
Place of premiere: Royal Court Theater Dresden
Playing time: approx. 4 ¾ hours (unabridged)
Place and time of the action: Rome, around the middle of the 14th century
  • Cola Rienzi, papal notary ( tenor )
  • Irene, his sister ( soprano )
  • Steffano Colonna, head of the Colonna family ( bass )
  • Adriano, Steffano's son ( mezzo-soprano )
  • Paolo Orsini, head of the Orsini family ( baritone )
  • Cardinal Orvieto, papal legate (bass)
  • Baroncelli, Roman citizen (tenor)
  • Cecco del Vecchio, Roman citizen (baritone)
  • A messenger of peace (soprano)
  • Choir

Rienzi, the last of the tribunes is a great tragic opera in five acts with sixteen numbers by Richard Wagner . It premiered in 1842. The libretto (based on the novella of the same name by Edward Bulwer-Lytton ) was also written by the composer, as in all of Wagner's operas. The opera deals freely with the life of the late medieval Roman statesman and tribune Cola di Rienzo (1313–1354).

Rienzi is considered Adolf Hitler's favorite opera and played a central role during the Nazi era , including at the Nazi party rallies in Nuremberg .


Cola di Rienzo (1313–1354), engraving from 1646.

The opera portrays the life of Cola di Rienzo, here called Rienzi, condensed into a period of five days apart, heroically and glorifyingly . Rienzi resolutely opposes the terror that the aristocratic families Orsini and Colonna in Rome spread day after day against the common people, and wins the citizenship for an uprising against them. Rienzi was soon able to install a liberal constitution in Rome, with him at the helm as the “ tribune of the people ”. The clergy, too, with a cardinal at their head, are on his side. ( First act )

But the Nobili are not quiet. After retreating for the time being, they plan to invade and re-occupy Rome. An assassination attempt carried out by them on Rienzi at a great festival fails, but the tribune pardons them, to the displeasure of the people. ( Second act )

Despite their pardon, the nobili fled Rome and are marching against the city with an army. Rienzi, in turn, is now determined to settle accounts with his opponents and leads the plebeians into battle. The plebeians defeat the nobili, whose leaders, Orsini and Colonna, fall. Rienzi is celebrated as a victor, but now he has a new, inner enemy: Adriano di Colonna, the admirer of his sister Irene, who initially stood on the side of the people, but is now determined to avenge his father's death on Rienzi. ( Third act )

Adriano incites the plebeians with an intrigue against Rienzi. The cardinal, too, is now against the tribune and denies it the Te Deum, which is mandatory after a victory . Adriano openly renounces Rienzi. ( Fourth act )

Rienzi implores God's blessing for his rule. He recognizes the forlornness of his situation; only Irene, his sister, still stands by him. Adriano makes one last attempt to win Irene, whom he still loves, to his side - but in vain. There was a popular uprising against Rienzi: The plebeians themselves set fire to the Capitol , where the tribune resides, Rienzi and Irene went down proudly and abandoned by everyone. Adriano, who couldn't leave Irene, also dies in the flames. ( Fifth act )

The action takes place between 1347 and 1354. The location is Rome throughout .


first act

World premiere of Rienzi at the Royal Court Theater in Dresden on October 20, 1842. Rienzi sang Joseph Tichatschek and Adriano Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient

number 1

The Orsini and Colonna families fight in the streets of Rome, in front of the Lateran , for a town girl, Irene, in order to kidnap her. Colonna's son, Adriano, stands protectively in front of her. The cardinal appears and commands silence, but is mocked by the warring parties ("Cardinal, go to church and leave the road for us now"). Rienzi enters, the tumult dies suddenly. He criticizes the Nobili as the destroyers of Rome who robbed it of its ancient greatness, harassed the people and despised the Church:

This is your craft, that's
how I recognize you!

He turns to the bystanders, who expect him to be saved from the Nobili (“When will you finally get serious, Rienzi, and break the arrogant power?”). Rienzi promises them the early end of the terror by the nobles. He asks the cardinal for support ("Can I firmly build on the holy church?"), Which the cardinal promises. Then he said to the people:

But if you hear the trumpet's call resounding
in a long-
lasting sound, then wake up, all hurry up,
freedom I proclaim Roma's sons!
But worthy, without rage,
show everyone that he is a Roman;
welcome so
call the day, he would avenge you and your shame!

The Nobili meanwhile leave the city. The people feel encouraged by Rienzi and are preparing to shake off aristocratic rule.

No. 2

The Nobili have cleared the field. Rienzi approaches Adriano and Irene and asks in amazement:

Adriano you?
How, a Colonna protects a girl from dishonor?

Rienzi realizes that Adriano is not a nobile like the others. Rienzi, in turn, who is in love with Irene and whose love she will soon return, also finds Rienzi sympathetic. He explains his plans for a new, just Rome to him:

I make Rome big and free,
I wake it from its sleep;
and everyone you see in the dust
I will make a free citizen of Rome!

Adriano initially rebounds, knowing that an overthrow will cost his peers the rule and his relatives could possibly lose their lives:

More terrible, through our blood!
Rienzi, we have nothing in common.

Rienzi now holds up to Adriano the murder of his little brother many years ago, which a Colonna had committed. He invokes blood guilt and a duty to retaliate:

Woe to him who has a kindred blood to avenge!

Adriano is genuinely upset and shocked. He asks how he can “atone for shame”; Rienzi offers him his friendship and invites him to join his freedom movement ("Adriano, be mine! Be a Roman"), and Adriano finally says yes. The scene ends with a jubilant trio (“A loyal Roman heart still beats in my chest”).

No. 3

Adriano and Irene are alone. They confess their love to one another, but also their reservations: this because of the horrors of the nobili; the one about the imminent uprising that will hit his family the most. Against this they conjure up the power of love in a lively duet (“Bräch 'also the world together”). A bright trumpet signal sounds three times in the distance.

No. 4

Josef Tichatschek as Cola Rienzi (1842)

The uprising begins. The viewer learns of the struggle and victory of the People's Party by means of a pondoscope , from the perspective of Adrianus and Irenes. Rienzi and his family kneel down in thanksgiving, an organ sounds. Then the victory festival begins. Rienzi explains the main features of the new constitution:

The freedom of Rome is the law;
every Roman is subject to it;
Violence and robbery are severely punished,
and every robber is Roma's enemy!

The people cheer and thank Rienzi for the liberation. One of the leading plebeians, Cecco, wants to proclaim Rienzi king. Rienzi fends off in the style of the ancient Romans and instead accepts the dignity of the tribune :

Not so! I wanted you free!
The holy church rules here,
laws give a senate.
But if you choose me to protect
the rights that the people recognize,
look to your ancestors
and call me your tribune of the people!

The act ends with frenzied approval for Rienzi and Siegestaumel. Curtain.

Second act

No. 5

Johann Michael Wächter as Orsini (1842)

Rienzi, the new tribune of the people, and his two comrades-in-arms Cecco and Baroncelli receive the message from the "messengers of peace" who have spread the news of the end of the terror in Rome throughout Italy. Then the leaders of the Nobili appear, Orsini and Colonna. They vow to keep peace and submit to the new violence (“Rienzi, take the peace's greetings!”).

No. 6

The Nobili among themselves. In truth, they are not thinking of bowing to Rienzi and are planning an overthrow to restore order. They want to bring their own army to the city from outside and at the same time murder Rienzi at the upcoming peace festival. Only Adriano, who is privy to their plans, contradicts them and rushes away in horror.

No. 7

The great peace festival. Embassies from all over Italy solemnly arrive in Rome, where the people, Rienzi with the Senate and the Nobili at the head, await them. A large pantomime is performed, to which, based on the ballet typical of the Grand Opéra , dance rhythms are played.

The pantomime represents the story of Lucretia from ancient Roman history: her dishonor by arrogant patricians, vengeance by the plebeians, finally the overthrow of King Tarquin and the establishment of the Roman Republic . At its peak, old Orsini carried out an assassination attempt on Rienzi in the immediate vicinity of the tribune ; Adriano tries to stop him, but can't take the shock. Nevertheless, Rienzi remains unharmed: as a precaution he had worn a mail shirt under his robe, which had warded off the dagger.

There is a commotion. The people are racing and demanding the death of the Nobili, who were disarmed immediately after the unsuccessful assassination attempt. Rienzi first wants to sentence her to death; but Irene and Adriano penetrate him and beg for mercy. Then the tribune decides to pardon the nobili. The people are outraged, but accept his decision. Curtain.

Third act

"You Romans, take up arms!"
- Rienzi's dashing battle song ( piano reduction )

No. 8

Rienzi, Cecco and Baroncelli in the Roman Forum . In the background the people are raging, the storm bells ringing. Apparently the Nobili fled Rome the night before and are marching against the city with a force. The pardon given by Rienzi could not alleviate their hatred of the upstart who took their power away from them. Rienzi now also decides to fight and enthusiastically calls on the people to:

You Romans, take up arms,
every man hurry to battle!
The God who recreated Roma
leads you through his champion.
Let your new flags
fly and fight gladly for their honor;
let out the battle cry:
Santo Spirito Cavaliere!

No. 9

Adriano alone. He understands the hopelessness of his situation: here the family to which he belongs; there Rienzi and Irene, whom he loves. For the time being, he does not give up hope and invokes a bloodless solution to the conflict ("Reconciliation be my sacred office!").

No. 10

The trumpet call ...
... and the marching theme from the overture , both of which reappear in the third act .

The great battle between plebeians and Nobili. In vain, Adriano Rienzi asks for protection for his father and brothers, who marched against Rome and are now standing in front of the city gates. On the scene you can see women's choirs praying for victory, behind them you can hear battle songs of the plebeians who are victorious in the end. A pithy marching melody vividly proclaims the triumph over the Nobili ("Do you hear the singing? That is the Roman victory song!"). This is followed by mourning chants that last for several minutes, because the battle also claimed many victims among the plebeians. Finally, Rienzi appears and proclaims the victory ("Heil, Roma, dir! You have won!") And at the same time the death of the leaders of the Nobili lake:

Colonna and Orsini are no more!

In the background you can hear a cry of pain: Adriano fell down on his dead father's body. Now conjures he Rienzi bloodshed and repeated the words of the first act:

Woe to him who has a kindred blood to avenge!

Then he complains to Irene about the cruel fate that opposes their mutual love:

Irene, curse fate,
it killed our love!

Rienzi fights frantically and, exhausted and nervous from the fight, signals the beginning of the victory celebration. Pathetic final chorus in a triumphant mood. Curtain.

Fourth act

No. 11

Henriette Wüst as Irene (1842)

Cecco and Baroncelli meet a crowd of citizens in front of the Lateran, who are gathering there. When asked who sent them, they answer: “He was masked, unrecognizable to us.” They report that the German emperor had recalled his envoy from Rome; The new Rome under Rienzi's leadership is also discredited by other powers. One puzzles over Rienzi's motives for pardoning the Nobili after the assassination attempt (in the second act ) instead of trying them straight away. For it was only this mildness that finally led to the great battle in which the leaders of the Nobili, but also many plebeians, had died.

Finally they suspect Rienzi of secret machinations with the Nobili. "At the price of this pardon", so presumed Baroncelli, the ambitious Rienzi wanted to buy old Colonna's consent to the marriage of Adrianus to Irene. In truth, the Tribune is not concerned with Rome and its people, but with their personal advancement. When asked about a witness for this allegation, a masked man answers - the one who told the Romans to come to Lateran Square - and reveals himself: It is Adriano. With Cecco, Baroncelli and the plebeians present, he is now against Rienzi and planning his overthrow.

No. 12

While the conspirators stand together, a delegation from the city with Rienzi and Irene at the head approaches. Rienzi asks the conspirators why they are not attending the peace celebration and receives an evasive answer. Solemn chanting emanates from the Lateran Church, making Rienzi's enemies insecure (“The Church for Rienzi?”). But when Rienzi wants to enter the church with Irene and his entourage to hold a Te Deum , a funeral song suddenly sounds from inside, making him rebound in horror:

Uae! Uae tibi maledicto!
Iam te iustus ense stricto
vindex manet angelus!

The cardinal, no longer on Rienzi's side, denied him access to the church with his monks:

Back! The
Church only opens up to the pure !

Rienzi realizes that his political situation is becoming increasingly serious. Adriano openly renounces him, while Irene, torn between the two men, decides in favor of her brother. Curtain.

Fifth act

“Almighty Father, look down!” Rienzi's prayer at the beginning of the fifth act

No. 13

The music opens with the same fanfare as the overture . Rienzi in the Capitol, his official residence. He kneels in front of a house altar and sings the famous prayer ("Almighty Father, look down!")

No. 14

Enter Irene. She is the only one who has remained loyal to her brother, but suffers from having renounced Adriano. Rienzi could not understand this, because: “You have never loved.” To which the single Rienzi replies that he has already had a love, ardent and fervent: namely that of Rome. Irene is finally fully committed to her brother ("I'll never let you!"), Who happily accepts her as a comrade-in-arms ("Come, proud virgin, to my heart!"). Both vow in a rousing duet:

Looks us straight in the eye,
and says whether Roma fell?
With our last breath
God first sets a goal for her.

No. 15

Adriano meets the previous ones. He implores Irene to part with Rienzi, whose demise is imminent. He himself realizes that he could never tear himself away from her, even if she doesn't follow him:

Ha, my love, I feel it,
it's not love, it's frenzy!

Irene, however, remains deaf to all requests and rejects Adriano. He collapses, but then decides to follow the beloved ("I find my way through flames!").

No. 16

The people, finally turned against Rienzi by the clergy, stormed the Capitol, on the parapet of which Rienzi and Irene appear. The plebeians, inflamed in hatred of the tribunes, throw the fire into the building. Rienzi remains fearless and unmoved; with his last words he curses the "faithless Roma":

Terrible mockery! How! Is this rome?
Wretched, unworthy of that name!
The last Roman curse you!
Accursed be this city!
Rot and wither, Rome!
So will your degenerate people.

The Capitol goes up in flames. Finally the ledge on which Rienzi and his sister were standing collapsed. They die under its ruins, with them Adriano, who had hurried after the lover all the way here ("Irene! Irene! Up, through the flames! Ah!"). Curtain.



The Rienzi is, in contrast to Wagner's later works, harmonically and melodically, but also thematically in the tradition of French grand opera with potpourri - Overture and Ballet . Even the choice of a historical material shows this relationship. Stylistically, it clearly belongs to the pathetic genre of the 1820s to 1840s, with energetic, "loud" arias, dashing transitions and brilliant, bombastic conclusions. In contrast to contemporary Italian and French bel canto , she places more emphasis on the orchestral parts and less on solo singing (hardly any coloratura ).

Nevertheless, the Rienzi already shows many clear approaches to the "romantic opera" of the middle Wagner as well as the " musical drama " of the later Wagner, for example in the instrumentation (strong wind choir) and in the inimitable symbiotic interaction of orchestra and vocal parts. In the heavy weighting of the orchestral parts and the increasing treatment of the vocal parts as if they were orchestral instrumental parts, traces of Wagner's later, more mature personal style can already be seen in the Rienzi score, at the end of which, among other things, and in particular the so-called " orchestral melody " and the " Infinite melody " should be in the later musical drama. The dramatic content itself is inseparable from these musical composition and stylistic devices: the topos of total downfall ( Götterdämmerung ) can already be found here as well as that of the lonely, superhuman hero ( Der Fliegende Holländer , Lohengrin , Siegfried ), whom the world does not understand and who perishes on her.

In a famous bon mot, Hans von Bülow described Rienzi as “ Meyerbeer's best opera”; Egon Voss comments on this, however, that this saying “should owe its origin to the ignorance of the Great Opera and especially Meyerbeer's”. Wagner himself is said to have said about the musical and dramatic figure of Rienzi :

“The great opera, with all its scenic and musical splendor, its high-impact, musical-mass passion, stood before me; and not just to imitate them, but to surpass them with unreserved waste after all their previous appearances , that was my artistic ambition. "


The main theme of the Rienzi overture . At the bottom right the famous decorations ( thirty-second notes - triplets ) in the strings

The best- known part of the Rienzi is certainly its overture, which the listener is still very familiar with thanks to its use in contemporary historical documentation (see adaptations ); the music critic Christine Lemke-Matwey, for example, calls it “the only showpiece of the score, known from radio and television, an overwhelmingly tasty perpetual motion machine”. Its exposition is again particularly well-known : Introduced by a fanfare proclaiming fate that is repeated once, the strings introduce the main theme in the piano: the pathetic hero motif with the ascending sixth leap, the descending cadence and the resurgence on the dominant seventh chord in fifth position stands expectantly. This passage is particularly impressive due to the nuanced use of crescendo and decrescendo as well as the strong vibrato of the strings.

After this main - and the following, rather restrained and long-arched, secondary movement - the dynamics increase considerably under sophisticated ascending figures from the lower choir, until (after about two minutes) the whole orchestra, now in fortissimo , starts again with the main theme. Here, at the end of the main movement (repeated once), the famous double strikes appear in the strings, which in the eighth measure of the main movement, above the second held as a whole note , ascend crescendingly along the dominant over two octaves (seven in a row ). Above all, this figuration is striking and provocative, has a high recognition value and is taken up again by Wagner several times in later works, especially in the overture to Tannhauser .


After this exposition, the overture anticipates all of the essential motifs that will appear in the course of the opera by “introducing” them briefly. Among the most famous among them are the battle cry Santo Spirito Cavaliere! (Eng .: "Knight of the Holy Spirit!") and the march from the third act, for which Wagner explicitly provides for a military wind choir in the instrumentation. Particularly memorable because of their instrumental and dynamic splendor and the simple, triumphant melody are the finals of the first and third act, as well as the numerous arias, among them the trio in the first and the prayer at the beginning of the fifth act.

Franz Liszt arranged some of these musical highlights for piano.

Playing time

The average length of the opera, which is common today, is around three hours, with the first and third acts of around forty minutes each - as much as the fourth and fifth together - being clearly predominant.

Work history


Program leaflet for the premiere of Rienzi in 1842

Rienzi is Richard Wagner's third completed opera and his first musical success, with which he achieved his breakthrough. Previously created were Die Feen ( premiered in 1833, 1888 in Munich ) and Das Liebesverbot , which Wagner performed only once in Magdeburg in 1836 .

The premiere of Rienzi took place on October 20, 1842 at the Royal Court Theater in Dresden ; Soloists included Joseph Tichatschek and Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient , who later became the ultimate Wagner interpreter of the 19th century. It went relatively smoothly, but some concessions to the censors could not be avoided: For example, the figure of the cardinal , who "betrayed" Rienzi at the end, had to be shown for the premiere - the Kingdom of Saxony was ruled by a Catholic dynasty, the Church was influential - to be renamed Raimondo . In addition, the opera was extremely extensive by the standards of the time - the excess length of later Wagner operas was anticipated here - which gave rise to some deletions, such as the great pantomime in the second act.

In terms of content, Wagner was inspired to compose Rienzi by the novel Rienzi, or The Last of the Tribunes by Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1835, German 1841), musically by the opera Fernand Cortez by Gasparo Spontini .


During the 19th century the musical form of the Rienzi was changed several times. Wagner himself divided the opera in 1843 into two halves ( Rienzi's Greatness and Rienzi's Fall ), since a complete performance of the four-hour opus blatantly contradicted the concertante customs of Biedermeier : At that time, as a rule, one played whole pieces anyway, but mostly mixed individual movements of different Composers; Even the seating capacity of the opera audience cannot be compared with today's custom, whether in Bayreuth or elsewhere. As a result, Wagner also wrote an arrangement for the Rienzi for an evening in the same year . - The changes made by his wife Cosima , on the other hand, were motivated quite differently , who after his death in the 1880s, together with Felix Mottl and two other band masters, subjected the score to a thorough revision in order to redesign it in the direction of Wagner's later musical drama . Among other things, scenes took the place of numbers , arias and endings were streamlined in order to deny as much as possible the “Italian”, belcanto-like character of the work, which betrayed so little the creator of the Ring and Parsifal . Only the new edition as part of the Richard Wagner Complete Edition (1974–1977) restored the original version.

Reception history

Position in the works canon

Wagner himself dismissed the opera as a “youthful sin” soon after its creation and called it a “screamer”, while on the other hand the music critic Eduard Hanslick , later Wagner's greatest opponent, met Rienzi of all people with special appreciation. In Bayreuth , Wagner only wanted to have the ten operas of his ripe time performed, from Dutch to Parsifal . Theodor W. Adorno , on the other hand, saw, despite the composer's self-denial, in the pathetic gesture and the sometimes bombastic, fatalistic tragedy of Rienzi, many essential elements of the later Wagner were already incorporated:

“Leubald and the Feen, Liebesverbot and Rienzi are of the kind that high school students use to write the title, the list of persons and the heading 'First Act' in oilcloth notebooks. If the objection is made that such beginnings are general, especially with dramatists, then it must be countered that Wagner captured the colossal format of such products as well as the costume dreams of the amateur theaters throughout his life: just as he did in his earliest years with designs from which the others only the headings had actually accomplished. Loyalty to childhood dreams and infantility are confused in his oeuvre. "

time of the nationalsocialism

Rienzi was Adolf Hitler's favorite opera . To Winifred Wagner , director of the Bayreuth Festival and a friend of Hitler, he is said to have said about a performance of Rienzi that he experienced as a teenager in Linz : “That was the hour it began!” On his 50th birthday in 1939, he was with four other autographs, the original score of the opera, which once belonged to King Ludwig II of Bavaria. Accordingly, the opera was popular in the Third Reich , as a diary entry (May 11, 1936) by Joseph Goebbels shows:

"Munich: [...] Festive opening of the Reichstheaterfestwoche. 'Rienzi.' Great representation. Leader there. Splendid performance. Vocally not outstanding, but well and solidly prepared. Wonderful direction. Good start! "

The fact that the Rienzi maintained a firm place in Nazi propaganda early on is also confirmed by an article on the 1929 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg , which Hitler himself wrote for the party newspaper Illustrierter Beobachter :

“The sky is black. The stadium is already overcrowded. There may be over a hundred thousand people inside and out who take notice when the gigantic music, accompanied by countless torches, enters the wide area. After a magnificently played overture to 'Rienzi', marches follow, and finally the great fireworks display begins. "

About the internal ratio Hitler to Wagner and his Rienzi has Joachim Fest following consideration made:

“In any case, the fame that he had sought all his life was never that of a statesman, the ruler of an authoritarian welfare state, or that of the great general. For each of these roles, along with much else, there was too much Wagner and too much desire for doom in him. As an adolescent, he first attended a performance of 'Rienzi' on the stalls of the Linz opera , the story of a late medieval rebel and tribunes who broke up because of the tragic misunderstanding of the world and finally chose death and self-destruction. 'It began in that hour!' he happily confessed decades later. "

The autograph of the score has been missing since the Second World War ; Hitler is said to have taken it to the bunker in the garden of the Old Reich Chancellery.


Because of Hitler's fondness for this opera, the Rienzi was considered proto-fascist after the Second World War and was hardly performed any more. In the meantime, however, new interest in opera is awakening: Both Katharina Wagner and Eva Wagner-Pasquier declared in 2008 that they wanted to include it in the Bayreuth canon and thus refresh the traditional repertoire that had remained the same for decades.

The musicologist Egon Voss came to the following conclusion about the Rienzi in 1983 :

"With the Rienzi , Wagner succeeded in creating a work of his own for the first time [...] For the first time, Wagner's specific idiom can be heard, which is largely absent in works such as Die Feen and Das Liebesverbot . Nevertheless: Wagner's Rienzi is for a long time more an Italian than a German opera; Wagner's predilection for and enthusiasm for Bellini has never been as impressed on any of his scores as the Rienzi [...] It is precisely this Wagnerian Italianità, which also distinguishes the Flying Dutchman and the Tannhauser in a striking way, that is the strength of the score. "

On the occasion of the Wagner anniversary in 2013, the Salzburg Festival performed the work in concert at the Felsenreitschule . The version was chosen for two evenings -  Rienzi's Greatness and Rienzi's Fall  - using the second overture as well. The Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra played under the direction of Philippe Jordan ; Benjamin Bernheim , Sophie Koch , Emily Magee , Christopher Ventris , Georg Zeppenfeld and the Vienna State Opera Choir sang . The audience cheered, the critics praised.


An excerpt from the overture to Rienzi can be heard as the striking closing melody of Spiegel TV reports. The melody also serves as a popular musical background motif in reports about the Nazi era , especially about Hitler himself.

A corruption known Rienzi motifs (mostly from the overture) comes in Helmut Dietl's film Schtonk! (1992) as background music.



  • Richard Wagner: Rienzi, the last of the tribunes. Great tragic opera in 5 acts. Eds. Reinhard Strohm and Egon Voss. Schott, Mainz 1974–1977. (= Complete Works. Founded by Carl Dahlhaus . Volume 3, Part 1–4).

Vocal score

  • Richard Wagner: Rienzi, the last of the tribunes. Great tragic opera in 5 acts. Fürstner, Berlin 1910.


  • Richard Wagner: Rienzi. The last of the tribunes. Edited by Egon Voss. Reclam, Stuttgart 1983, ISBN 3-15-005645-4 . (Text and commentary).

Recordings (selection)


  • Rienzi, the last of the tribunes . In: Illustrirte Zeitung . No. 7 . J. J. Weber, Leipzig August 12, 1843, p. 107-109 ( books.google.de ).
  • Werner Ramann: The poetic style of Richard Wagner in its development from Rienzi to Parsifal. Dissertation. Jena 1929.
  • Eduard Hanslick: The modern opera. Reviews and studies. 9 volumes. New edition: Farnborough 1971, ISBN 0-576-28228-6 .
  • John Deathridge: Wagner's Rienzi. A reappraisal based on a study of the sketches and drafts. Clarendon Press, Oxford 1977, ISBN 0-19-816131-X .
  • Egon Voss: Epilogue. In: Richard Wagner: Rienzi. The last of the tribunes. Reclam, Stuttgart 1993, ISBN 3-15-005645-4 , pp. 67-80.

Web links

Commons : Rienzi  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. John Deathridge: Rienzi, the last of the tribunes. In: Piper's Encyclopedia of Musical Theater . Volume 6: Works. Spontini - Zumsteeg. Piper, Munich / Zurich 1997, ISBN 3-492-02421-1 , pp. 549-555.
  2. Raimondo due to censorship from 1842
  3. NB: The action takes place, true to the historical circumstances, in the time of the Avignon exile , when the Pope was not in Rome.
  4. German: “Woe to you cursed! The just avenging angel is already waiting for you with drawn sword! "
  5. Quoted from: Martin Gregor-Dellin : Richard Wagner . Piper, Munich 1982, ISBN 3-492-02693-1 , p. 131.
  6. ^ Voss, p. 76.
  7. ^ Carl Friedrich Glasenapp : The life of Richard Wagner . 4th edition. Leipzig 1905, Volume 1, p. 304.
  8. Wagner's "Rienzi": The dictator and his double . in: Der Tagesspiegel , January 26, 2010.
  9. Wagner 1983, p. 7.
  10. Liszt, Piano Works , Volume 7 (edited by Emil von Sauer ), Leipzig 1917.
  11. Voss, p. 78 f.
  12. Voss, p. 69 f.
  13. Voss, p. 75 f.
  14. Voss, pp. 77-79.
  15. ^ Letter to Alwine Frommann dated December 27, 1845. In: All letters , Volume 2, Leipzig 1969, p. 470.
  16. ^ Gregor-Dellin: Richard Wagner. Piper, Munich 1982, ISBN 3-492-02693-1 , S, 190.
  17. ^ Theodor W. Adorno : Attempt on Wagner . In: The musical monographs (= collected writings , Volume 13), Frankfurt / Main 1971, p. 27
  18. ^ August Kubizek : Adolf Hitler. My childhood friend , Graz u. a. 1953, p. 142.
  19. Voss, p. 68 f.
  20. Entry from May 11, 1936. In: Elke Fröhlich (Ed.): Diaries , Volume 3/2. Munich 2001, p. 79 f.
  21. ^ Hitler: Nuremberg Diary . In: Illustrierter Beobachter from August 10, 1929, quoted in n .: Klaus A. Lankheit (Ed.): Speeches, writings, arrangements. February 1925 to January 1933 . Volume 3. Saur, Munich 1994, ISBN 3-598-21934-2 , p. 357 ff.
  22. Joachim Fest : The downfall. Hitler and the end of the Third Reich . Fest, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-598-21934-2 , p. 153 f.
  23. Record cover Rienzi. Scenes . LP Eterna 826 663, 1977
  24. also Voss, p. 68.
  25. Christine Lemke-Matwey: The family stands up . In: Der Tagesspiegel , August 13, 2008.
  26. Voss, p. 77.
  27. Peter P. Pacht: With unusual musical variations: acclaimed “Rienzi” premiere under Philippe Jordan at the Salzburg Festival . In: NMZ , August 12, 2013