Eretz Israel Orchestra to play Wagner

Posted on: May 31, 2012

In Thursday’s (5/31) Independent (London), Donald MacIntyre writes, “A seven-decade old cultural taboo will be broken next month when an Israeli symphony orchestra will play works by Richard Wagner inside the country for the first time since the state’s foundation in 1948. The Eretz Israel orchestra, the pre-state forerunner of the world-famous Israel Philharmonic, stopped playing the music of the German composer, who was notorious for expressing anti-Semitic views, in 1938 after the Nazis’ Kristallnacht pogrom of Jews. Attempts to include Wagner, who was also Hitler’s favorite composer, in Israeli concert repertoires since then have always been thwarted by heated opposition. … The concert will be part of a day of discussion and music at Tel Aviv University. It will explore the inspiration the Zionist visionary, Theodor Herzl, drew from Wagner’s opera Tannhäuser when he was writing the first draft of his seminal book The Jewish State. The event, which will also consider the interpretations of Wagner by the conductor Arturo Toscanini, a noted anti fascist, is the idea of the Israel Wagner Society, which includes Holocaust survivors among its members.”

Posted May 31, 2012