German composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883).
A controversial and influential figure in music drama of the 19th century, set out to create a new form in which the arts might be combined. Either you hate or worship him - nobody denies the greatness of his works. He transformed musical thought through his idea of Gesamtkunstwerk ("total artwork"), the synthesis of all the poetic, visual, musical and dramatic arts, epitomized by his monumental four-opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen (1876). To try to stage these works as he imagined them, Wagner built his own opera house.