Richard Wagner in VeniceDuring his stays in Venice, Wagner visited Piazza San Marco on a daily basis, always stopping at the Caffè Lavena for a cup of tea or a Cognac on the upper loggia, where he often happily spent part of his time conversing with Carlo Lavena.
Richard Wagner, one of the greatest musical geniuses of all time, gave lustre to Caffé Lavena, frequenting the place from the time of his first visit to Venice and becoming a habitué.
Wagner was always at the Lavena to compliment the director of the city band, after the performance of his Lohengrin, and to converse about pentagrams with his friends, the violinist Frontali and Maestro Angelo Tessarin turning the Caffé Lavena into a club for musicians, who were attracted by the fame of the great German master.As noted previously, Franz Liszt, Wagner's father-in-law, also frequented the Lavena with him. Liszt was inspired to write some of his most beautiful pages of music for piano on Venice as he sat in the café.
At this point it is a must to recall some of the other musicians of the age, who were attracted by the fame of the German master and who met at the tables of the café, forming a veritable cultural club, to the point that the Lavena was renowned as Caffè dei musicisti (the Musicians' Café). Among the guests of the Café there were Arthur Rubinstein, Mstislav Rostropovic, Karl Bòhm, Peter Maag, Mario del Monaco, Franco Corelli, Cecilia Gasdia, Raina Kabaiwanska, Uto Ughi, Katia Ricciarelli and many of the most illustrious names in music and opera.