Following the May uprising in Dresden, Richard Wagner and his friend Gottfried Semper fled to Switzerland with fake passports. Among other works, Wagner wrote "Art and Revolution", "The Artwork of the Future" and "Opera and Drama" in Zurich. He also gave the first public reading of his complete Ring poem in the Hotel Baur au Lac.

In Zurich Wagner fell in love with the married writer Mathilde Wesendonck. He lived next to the Villa Wesendonck and worked on "Tristan and Isolde" as well as setting the five poems by Mathilde Wesendonck to music. When Wagner’s wife Minna discovered his letters to his muse Mathilde, there was uproar and Wagner separated from his wife. He left Zurich and traveled to Italy.

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Multifaceted Zurich