Factbox: Wagner still controversial in Israel

Mon Nov 1, 2010 11:31am EDT
 
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TEL AVIV (Reuters Life!) - Here are some details about the controversy in Israel surrounding Wagner's music:

* BACKGROUND:

-- Israel has unofficially banned Richard Wagner's music for decades. For many, especially Holocaust survivors, his works carry echoes of Nazi Germany's slaughter of six million Jews during World War Two.

-- Hitler's theories of racial purity and exterminating Jews were partly drawn from Wagner's anti-Semitic writings.

-- The ban on Wagner predates Israel's creation in 1948. The Israel Philharmonic under its former name, the Palestine Orchestra, imposed it in 1938 following Nazi attacks on Jews in Germany.

-- The Berlin Philharmonic was also barred from Israel because its legendary conductor for more than three decades, Herbert von Karajan, was a Nazi party member. However they came to Israel under conductor Daniel Barenboim in 1990. Karajan died in 1989.

* INCIDENTS:

* In 2001 Zubin Mehta, conductor of the Israel Philharmonic, condemned a call by Israeli lawmakers to ban performances by maestro Daniel Barenboim over a performance of a work by Richard Wagner.

-- Barenboim, an Argentinean-born Israeli, told his audience at the July 2001 concert he would play a piece from Wagner's opera "Tristan and Isolde" and said those who objected should leave. Several dozen, some shouting "Fascist" and "Go home," slammed doors as they walked out of the concert by the visiting Berlin Staatskapelle in Jerusalem.   Continued...