Before there was Beatlemania, there was Lisztomania. Franz Liszt was the Trope Codifier for all music stars that came after him. (Violinist Niccolo Paganini was the Ur Example, for anyone interested.)
As a child prodigy, Liszt was stage-managed by his father, until he dropped dead in 1827. Liszt entered a self-imposed exile until the 1830s. After coming out of seclusion, he toured for nine years in Europe, and accrued a devoted fanbase comparable to that of today's pop stars. When Liszt got tired of touring, he settled in Weimar, where he first met that young hotshot composer Richard Wagner. They were musical kindred spirits, with a flair for the dramatic. Liszt actually premiered several of Wagner's operas. After 15 years in Weimar, Liszt moved to Rome. Though Liszt was quite the womanizer, he was a practicing Roman Catholic; nonetheless, his decision to become a priest shocked everyone. After he took up the cloth, Liszt spent the last years of his life teaching in Rome, Weimar, and Budapest (which must have been quite the commute). Liszt died in 1886, without having his Last Rites, with his request to be buried simply in a monk's robe ignored.
Tropes Present in Liszt's life and work
- Bishonen: In his younger years.
- The Casanova: He was a notorious ladies' man.
- Deadpan Snarker: At yet another person's (false) claim to be his illegitimate offspring, Liszt said, "I know his mother only by correspondence, and one cannot arrange that sort of thing by correspondence."
- Groupie Brigade: He had one of the first.
- Technician Versus Performer: Liszt was lucky enough to have both, but compared to other pianists of the era, like Chopin, Liszt was a Performer.