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In June 1852, chronically destitute Richard Wagner wrote from Zurich to the influential Franz Liszt in Weimar:

Dearest of friends, a request! I am working hard and hoping to finish the poem of my Valkyrie within two weeks. Then I’ll be in urgent need for some kind of relaxation, such as a holiday, all the more so since I’d rather not finish my final poetic work, the great prelude, here in Zurich, where the sameness of these familiar surroundings oppresses me, and tedious visits tend to put me in a bad mood. I need to go up into the Alps and get at least a taste of the Italian border, where I might be able to stay for a while. But I can’t afford that kind of extravagance on my basic income.

For next winter I have a few extra earnings to look forward to: (Tannhäuser in Leipzig and most likely also in Breslau.) Most of all, though, I’m depending upon the receipts you’ll provide me from The Flying Dutchman in Weimar. No doubt, I may expect 20 or 25 louis d’or? What do you say to sending me that much in the form of an advance?

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If Ziegesar is not yet back in charge of business, I’d rather not approach the box-office directly for this advance on my fee, but perhaps there’s some well-intentioned person who wouldn’t refuse you that amount in the form of an advance?

At the same time, you would be the best guarantee that such receipts would actually accrue, since your enthusiastic backing will see to it that The Flying Dutchman is performed this winter in Weimar.

The advance would be a source of great pleasure for me! But—I need the money before the end of the month at the latest! See if it’s possible to bring this about.

Liszt arranged for an advance, and Wagner relaxed with a four-week walking tour of the Alps.