February 25, 2016
Bernd Weikl
Swastikas on Stage
Trends in the production of Richard Wagner s operas in German theaters today
1. Auflage 2015
222 Seiten, Taschenbuch, ca. 135 mm x 210 mm,
  • ISBN-10: 3864603056
  • ISBN-13: 978-3864603051
Many books have been written about Richard Wagner. Do we really need another one? Yes, we do, for this one gives the reader, for the first time, insight into a truly disturbing situation that exists in German theaters today. Stage directors with fully booked calendars feel free to lionize themselves with unchecked artistic freedom and disregard the intentions of the composer and librettist, as well as the state educational mandate and the high subsidies that support these theaters financially. Swastikas are displayed in German opera houses, and Jews are gassed on stage - yet an attorney general presented with a case finds no legal basis to fight this. Journalists defend stage productions like these with the paradoxical reasoning that this could actually prevent the rise of neo-Nazism. To demonstrate how far this can go, Bernd Weikl has developed his own fantasy concepts for the staging of Wagner's music dramas, taking the nonsense now seen on German stages to the absurd. Historical explanations of the German theater system and how it is financed help the reader to understand how it has been possible for this situation to arise, while an explication of the cultural mandate as specified in the German Basic Law shows how puzzling it is that this could happen at all. Background material stems not only from Wagner himself and his widow Cosima, known for her virulent antisemitism, and others of her generation, but from renowned authors and media who claim to see a strong link between Wagner and Hitler. Bernd Weikl, however, leaves no doubt that Wagner's works as written are not antisemitic and therefore may not be presented as such. And he stands with Irad Atir, who pleads for finally performing Richard Wagner's works in Israel - in their pure form, of course.

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