His Leonore (1798) formed the basis of the libretto of the Fidelio of Beethoven.
The medieval studies which Wagner had begun for his work at the libretto of Tannhauser bore rich fruit in his next opera Lohengrin, in which he also developed his principles on a larger scale and with a riper technique than hitherto.
In 1863 he published the libretto of Der Ring des Nibelungen.
This he now endeavoured to embody in Der fliegende Hollander, for which he designed a libretto quite independent of any other treatment of the legend.
La Esmeralda, the libretto of an opera founded on his great tragic romance of Notre-Dame de Paris, is a miracle of lyric melody and of skilful adaptation.
The libretto was complete before his visit to London in 1877.
In 1857 he completed the libretto of Tristan and Isolde at Venice, adopting the Celtic legend modified by Gottfried of Strasburg's medieval version.
Wagner's choice of subjects had from the outset shown an imagination far above that of any earlier librettist; yet he had begun with stories which could attract ordinary minds, as he dismally realized when the libretto of Der fliegende Hollander so pleased the Parisian wire-pullers that it was promptly set to music by one of their friends.