In the Ocean of Longing

The Life and the Death of King Ludwig II of Bavaria

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Program notes

A portrait of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, aesthete, patron and friend of Richard Wagner.

The fourth King of Bavaria, Ludwig II never ceased to exert a great fascination over music lovers' minds ever since his death in 1886. His reign was short-lived, from 1864 to 1886, and his power as a king very limited. Yet, his patronage activities has left an imperishable mark on art history. Perhaps partly for this lack of political influence, especially after 1871 when Bavaria became vassal to Prussia, Ludwig II took refuge in an idealized world, taking himself for Parsifal, and became king over a romantic and imaginary world, of which the Castle of Neuschwanstein offers a reflection.

The movie director Christian Rischert brings the spectator along the exuberant galleries of the castle, trying to better understand the mysterious personality of Ludwig II, patron of Richard Wagner, and King of Bavaria who lost himself in madness at the end of his life.

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