Germany’s Bayreuth opera festival confronts Wagner anti-Semitism head-on with new production

Source:AFP Published: 2017/7/27 15:13:40

An edgy new opera production by Australian Jewish director Barrie Kosky tackling Wagner's anti-Semitism head-on won rapturous applause at Germany's renowned Bayreuth opera festival and rave reviews Wednesday.

An audience including German Chancellor Angela Merkel cheered the four-and-a-half-hour staging of The Mastersingers of Nuremberg on opening night Tuesday at Bayreuth, the festival dedicated to the works of Richard Wagner.

Critics said they were impressed with the first production ever by a Jewish director at Bayreuth, now in its 106th year, and called it chillingly relevant.

Spiegel Online said Kosky's "remarkably entertaining and convincing" staging effectively used Wagner's notorious anti-Semitism to take on "hatred of Jews in general" in today's Europe.

National daily Die Welt said Wagner's toxic ideology had always been an "elephant in the room" which Kosky had opted to make "the actual subject of his staging."

Wagner's musical and artistic legacy from the 19th century is infused with anti-Semitism, misogyny and proto-Nazi ideas of racial purity.

Nevertheless in purely musical terms, Wagner's achievements are undeniable and his operas figure in the standard repertoire of houses around the world.



Posted in: MUSIC

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