He was only five years old when his parents first took him to the opera. Andris Nelsons still clearly remembers the play. Then it was all over for him.

Riga (AP) – Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons is a big fan of the music of Richard Wagner (1813-1883). “Wagner is one of the most brilliant composers. The music is very close to me personally, ”the conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus orchestra told Latvian radio on Saturday.

Enthusiasm for the sounds of the German musical genius came from his childhood. “My parents took me to the first opera when I was five and it was ‘Tannhauser’. Since then, I really like Wagner’s music, I was almost addicted to his special music, ”Nelsons said.

Nelsons is giving two concerts with the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra in his hometown of Riga this weekend. The program of the two guest performances on Friday and Saturday included excerpts from works by Richard Wagner, who had himself worked in Riga – from 1837 to 1839 he was choirmaster at the city’s Deutsches Theater. There he also began to compose his first opera Rienzi.

“It’s a great honor and pleasure,” Nelsons said. The two appearances with the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra at the Latvian National Opera are not only musically something special for him. “Every time I come to Riga it is associated with peace, memories and a sense of family,” Nelsons said on the radio.