- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
Israeli orchestra to play Wagner in Germany
Question of the Day
The Israel Chamber Orchestra’s concert in Wagner’s hometown alongside the annual Bayreuth opera festival on Tuesday will mark the first time an Israeli orchestra has played Wagner in Germany, Nicolaus Richter, the head of Bayreuth city’s cultural affairs department, said Monday.
“They didn’t rehearse it at home in order not to create any resistance,” Richter said.
The concert is set to begin with Israel’s national anthem, “Hatikva,” and will also feature music by composers banned by the Third Reich, including Gustav Mahler and Felix Mendelssohn.
The orchestra will be led by Roberto Paternostro, whose mother survived the Nazi genocide. He is a friend of Katharina Wagner, a great-granddaughter of Wagner and co-director of the Bayreuth festival.
“About a year and a half ago Paternostro had contacted Katharina Wagner about the idea of performing during the Bayreuth Festival,” Richter said. “Wagner thought it was a great idea, and it also is a sign of coming to terms with the past,” he added.
Orchestra Chief Executive Eran Hershkovitz said there is a “great pride and great excitement” ahead of the performance for him and the ensemble’s 34 musicians, many of whom are children of Holocaust survivors.
“This is not just another concert. It is a once-in a lifetime concert, a victory concert,” he said. “Because of the things that Wagner wrote, to come here, a group of Jewish musicians from the state of the Jews … it is the best response and proof that they did not succeed and will not succeed.”
Since its founding in 1948, Israel has observed an informal ban on Wagner’s music because of its use in Nazi propaganda before and during World War II. The Wagner family also had close connections to the German fascists and their ideology, and performances of the 19th-century composer are kept off Israeli stages and airwaves out of respect to the country’s 220,000 Holocaust survivors.
Some 6 million Jews were systematically murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators in Europe during the war.
Elan Steinberg, deputy head of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, condemned the performance as a “disgraceful abandonment of solidarity with those who suffered unspeakable horrors by the purveyors of Wagner’s banner.”
However, the concert won’t be the first Wagner performance by an Israeli orchestra. In 2001, world-renowned conductor Daniel Barenboim angered many Israelis when he played some of Wagner’s music in Israel.
The Bayreuth festival is Germany’s most important festival for classical music. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and many other prominent personalities regularly visit the annual event, which was founded by Wagner himself in 1876.
Israel and West Germany established diplomatic ties in 1965, two decades after the end of World War II. Since then, Germany has become Israel’s second-largest trading partner and has paid some $40 billion in reparations to Holocaust survivors in Israel.
TWT Video Picks
The subsidies are a hit with patients who don't exist
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- House panel OKs resolution to sue president for Obamacare delays
- Obama's empty tough-talk: Gun prosecutions plummet on his watch
- Norway expects imminent 'concrete threat' from ISIL terrorists 'within days'
- Conservative groups decry Democrats' 'war on women' tactic
- Obama says public not familiar enough with issues
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq