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Thread: Anti-Wagner Sentiment Outside the US?

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    Default Anti-Wagner Sentiment Outside the US?

    I apologize in advance to all who are sick of the Hitler-Wagner thing. I'm working on an article, and I'm wondering about the extent to which the knee-jerk "Wagner's music = Naziism" attitude (so prevalent in the US even in this day and age) is present in other countries. Australians, Germans, Russians, Koreans: is this an issue in your country? If so, how does it manifest?

    My warmest thanks to all who've read this, and to all who reply.

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    Senior Member Albert7's Avatar
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    Never been an issue in the United States so far... I haven't seen any protest yet at the Met regarding any Wagnerian production there recently.

    On the other hand, John Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer seems to have taken its place here. Oh well .
    "if a horse could sing in a monotone, the horse would sound like Carly Simon, only a horse wouldn't rhyme 'yacht', 'apricot', and 'gavotte'. Is that some kind of joke?"
    --Robert Christgau
    "there's a fine line between having an open mind and having your whole brain fall out"
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    アルバート セブン

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    Meh . . . There are more important things going on in the world right now.

    Ain't nobody got time fo' dat!
    Last edited by Morimur; Mar-13-2015 at 13:57.

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    Senior Member Becca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morimur View Post
    Meh . . . There's more important things going on in the world right now.

    Ain't nobody got time fo' dat!
    The OP asked a legitimate question for a legitimate purpose so doesn't deserve that kind of reaction.

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    I agree it's a fair question. But in the US I've never seen this raised as an issue except in forums such as this -- certainly not among concert-goers. I wonder why the OP believes it's "prevalent" here.


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    Here in the US I don't think this is a significant issue among music lovers generally, but there have been books, articles, and films published of a highly tendentious nature which seek to keep the association of Wagner with Nazism (as well as the question of antisemitism in his operas) alive and kicking despite its desire to die a natural death. There remains, I think, a vague popular perception that Wagner, sometime before he died in 1883, wrote the soundtrack for "Hitler's Third Reich: The Movie!"

    It's my impression that "the Wagner problem" means more to people in Germany, perhaps for obvious reasons. But I hope to be disabused by any Germans among us. Israel, of course, is a different story altogether. I think it's still illegal to perform Wagner at concerts there (against the wishes of many Jews who want to hear it, it should be said).

    Someday the world may get past this.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Mar-13-2015 at 08:22.

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    Senior Member Sloe's Avatar
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    The mezzo-soprano Malena Ernman critizised the decision of having a scene from Die Valkyre on the coming new 500 kronor note with Birgit Nilsson because Wagner was a so called "anti-semite":

    http://www.svd.se/kultur/ernman-krit...el_4267507.svd

    Then she is not the smartest person.

    Her grandmothers uncle had no problem with Wagner:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...&v=8SJjk8DN5IA

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sloe View Post
    The mezzo-soprano Malena Ernman critizised the decision of having a scene from Die Valkyre on the coming new 500 kronor note with Birgit Nilsson because Wagner was a so called "anti-semite":

    http://www.svd.se/kultur/ernman-krit...el_4267507.svd

    Then she is not the smartest person.

    Her grandmothers uncle had no problem with Wagner:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...&v=8SJjk8DN5IA
    " 'So called' " ?

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    My impression of tiny Denmark is that staging/performing Wagner involves absolutely no problem in itself, since his importance and relevance is quite "universally" acknowledged, and that there is also a general consensus as regards his unpleasant personality and traits of anti-semitism.

    There´s quite a lot of scholarly debate as regards the nuances of this, however, but these basic views are not contested.

    I am no opera specialist, though, and don´t know how it was in the immediate post-war years.
    Last edited by joen_cph; Mar-13-2015 at 14:05.

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    I don't claim to know everybody's views in Germany on this matter, but in the post-war years, the newly rebuilt Berlin State Opera opened with a performance of Die Meistersinger. That was in 1955, so it seems, Germans had no problem with performing Wagner even then. They appear to have more problems with performing his operas as he wanted them to be.
    ... yet for us will still remain the holy German art... (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg)
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    God gave all men all earth to love,
    But since our hearts are small,
    Ordained for each one spot should prove
    Beloved over all.
    R. Kipling

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    Senior Member Alydon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by freya221b View Post
    I apologize in advance to all who are sick of the Hitler-Wagner thing. I'm working on an article, and I'm wondering about the extent to which the knee-jerk "Wagner's music = Naziism" attitude (so prevalent in the US even in this day and age) is present in other countries. Australians, Germans, Russians, Koreans: is this an issue in your country? If so, how does it manifest?

    My warmest thanks to all who've read this, and to all who reply.
    I have closely followed the commentary and news surrounding major new productions of Wagner's work in the UK and very rarely heard or read any comment on this issue: maybe everyone has got over it at last.
    Last edited by Alydon; Mar-13-2015 at 16:50.

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    Senior Member SiegendesLicht's Avatar
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    It's been my impression that Germans generally have a lot of respect for their Meister. You drive on the highway past Leipzig and see a giant billboard "Leipzig - The Birthplace of Richard Wagner". There are Wagner Streets, Wagner Squares and Wagner monuments all over the country, possibly more than those named after any other great composer (though I may well be biased in this since I have been noticing them more than others). Add to that places, monuments and street names that have a connection to the persons of Wagner's legendarium like the monument to Hagen in Worms. Wagner had a lot of love for his fellow countrymen, and they love him right back
    ... yet for us will still remain the holy German art... (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg)
    ***
    God gave all men all earth to love,
    But since our hearts are small,
    Ordained for each one spot should prove
    Beloved over all.
    R. Kipling

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    As Hannah Arendt (I think it was) pointed out those who spend too much time looking for the origins of the Nazi philosophy in the 19th century run the risk of being accused of trying to find excuses for the evils inflicted on Europe's Jews in the Holocaust.

    Wagner lived at a time when anti-Semitism was widespread in Europe and influenced the attitude of many, in the Western democracies as well as areas where there was active persecution of Jews such as Tsarist Russia. Certainly his writings about Jews were not unique at the time. And we should remember that despite his anti-Semitism, he worked with many prominent Jewish musicians.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    I agree it's a fair question. But in the US I've never seen this raised as an issue except in forums such as this -- certainly not among concert-goers. I wonder why the OP believes it's "prevalent" here.
    Fabulous avatar, KenOC.

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    Whenever I attended a complete Wagner Ring Cycle at the Met, it was always sold out.

    No pickets outside. No riots.

    I don't see any anti-Wagner sentiment in the US in real life, except on this forum. Fantasyland.
    Last edited by hpowders; Mar-13-2015 at 17:54.
    Facts don't care about your feelings.

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