- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 26, 2011

BERLIN (AP) - An Israeli orchestra is performing the music of Richard Wagner at the annual Bayreuth opera festival, breaking the unofficial rule against playing the music of Adolf Hitler’s favorite composer.

Organizers say the concert Tuesday by the Israel Chamber Orchestra is the first time an Israeli orchestra has played Wagner in Germany.

The American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants is criticizing the concert as a “disgraceful abandonment of solidarity with those who suffered unspeakable horrors by the purveyors of Wagner’s banner.”

But Orchestra Chief Executive Eran Hershkovitz says the performance shows the world the Nazis failed in their attempt to exterminate the Jews.

He says: “It is a once-in a lifetime concert, a victory concert.”