As if nothing had changed, Wagner still refers to himself in an 1845 letter to Franz Liszt as a “poor German opera composer.” In fact, everything had changed. The extraordinarily successful world premiere of Rienzi in Dresden on October 20, 1842, was followed shortly thereafter by Wagner's appointment in February 1843 to the Royal Court of Saxony as Hofkapellmeister, a well-paid post he now shared with Carl Gottlieb Reissiger, who had served alone in this capacity since 1828, succeeding Carl Maria von Weber. Reissiger, who conducted the sensational Rienzi premiere, would have been less than human had he not been at least annoyed having to share the limelight with this new, more flamboyant, younger colleague. Wagner sensed this and, in a letter to the Berlin music critic Karl Gaillard, noted that, while he had arrived in Dresden as “the unknown, impoverished musician,” his success since had begun to cause him difficulties, including “envy” (Neid) from his peers and superiors.
A remarkable letter Reissiger wrote in 1843 to Joseph Fischhoff in Vienna not only confirms Wagner's claims but, more significantly, documents the degree to which Wagner's careerist publicity-consciousness and media-manipulation tactics were clearly apparent to those in his orbit. The letter is worth quoting at length:
There is constant adulation of Wagner here in the newspapers … As little as I care about such things, it is nevertheless difficult for me to suppress my rage over Wagnerian arrogance and his constant scribbling in all the papers. As you know, Wagner lived in Paris for quite a while before coming to Dresden, and he occupied himself there solely with musical reportages … He is even suspected of writing against himself and his oddities, only to answer and thus furnish the opportunity for even more adulation. […]