Saturday, May 18, 2013

How could it happen / Tannhauser cancelled

A Nazi-themed production of the Wagner opera Tannhaeuser, which featured scenes of gas chambers and the execution of a family, has been cancelled after audience members had to receive medical treatment for shock.

Michael Szentei-Heise, the head of the Jewish community in Duesseldorf, said the production was “tasteless and not legitimate”. He said: “This opera has nothing to do with the Holocaust. However, I think the audience has made this very clear.”
In a statement, the opera house management said it was aware that the production would “arouse controversy”.

Apparently Nazi-themed Wagner operas are nothing new and people are fed up with them, according to some of the comments.

Because it is a Wagner anniversary year, since he was born in 1813, there are a number of new documentaries available on his life right now.  If one googles it, there is even a Wagner movie:

Personally, I am almost entirely unfamiliar with his music though I tried to watch Parsifal on Youtube the other day and got about 30 min. into it. But it is a fact that Wagner was very anti-semitic.  It needs to be faced and he was part of the spirit of the elites of the 19th century which paved the way for Nazism's new religion and outlook.  This sort of thing should be thoroughly examined and understood.  Perhaps the stunt at the opera will help with that?

This Spiegel article aims to deal with some of what I wish would get brought out, but what I've copied about below is about all we get.  It seems to be simply saying that yea, they were all kind of anti-semitic at the time and yea there is this German longing.  It does not do justice to the subject matter.

Wagner himself conceived his music as political. He didn't want to be merely an artist, but to build a new society, a society of the emotionally transported, of people who seek love instead of striving for money and power. His music was also a propaganda tool for this idea.
This was convenient for the Nazis, because they too used intoxication, ecstasy and overpowering images in their propaganda, such as at their Nuremberg rallies. In the Germans, they encountered a pronounced susceptibility to emotional turmoil and pathos, which is particularly evident in German Romanticism, in the poetry of Friedrich Schiller or the philosophy of Martin Heidegger. An essentially German longing permeates Wagner's music.

Today, commenting on his theory that Wagner was partly to blame for the Holocaust, he says: "Hardly any more so that the anti-Semites Hegel, Marx and Schopenhauer. An intellectual anti-Semitism was almost socially acceptable at the time."

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