Cultural hazardous waste

After more than 130 years since the death of the musician, it´s time to demystify the work and personality of Richard Wagner. Opinion

Sharon Oppenheimer,

Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner

I admit: I cannot stand Richard Wagner: neither his music nor his worldview, nor the appreciation that is shown for this anti-Semitic troll. His music lacks the spirituality, the passion, and the human warmth of Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven. Richard Wagner´s music is pseudo-Germanic exclusiveness and 1,000 years long. Wagner comes up with Nordic kitsch and bombastic sounds: A mad Teutonic cult accompanied by pompous melodies.

Wagner was not only a composer, but also author of anti-Jewish writings, such as "Judaism in Music", that he published with the pseudonym K. Freigedank (meaning "K. Freethinker"). Jews were, in his opinion, those who will set the world on fire.

It was his pamphlet that contributed to the disregard of the work of Mendelssohn-Bartholdy.
He also taunted Giacomo Meyerbeer, although Meyerbeer had been the one who had supported him financially as well as with the creation of his opera "Rienzi", the opera that inspired Hitler in his youth to embark on his path.

No wonder that Wagner became Hitler's favorite composer. Both shared the same dreams about a white, blonde, and blue-eyed master race. Wagner's music and writings became entwined in the Nazi ideology.

The reason that his compositions did not disappear with him in the pit was a lucky coincidence:
In 1864 he met the young Bavarian King Ludwig II. From then on until the end of his life he lived at the expense of His Majesty. Wagner made himself his friend and advisor of the monarch, interfering even in government affairs until he was banned by the Bavarians. Because of intense protests from the people and the government, he left the kingdom one-and-a-half years later.

He remained friendly and of course financially connected with Ludwig II, the builder of fairy-tale castles. Nevertheless, the sovereign was not infected by Wagner's venomous Jew-hatred. Bavaria´s dream king made it clear how disgusted he felt about his anti-Semitism.

For Richard Wagner, a theater in Bayreuth was built especially for this purpose - an honor that no other German composer has ever enjoyed. Instead of unique music, he created mass-produced noise for cash coin. His work is completely permeated by Germanic exclusiveness and anti-Semitic prejudices. Most of the Germans love Wagner. They think that they "understand" Wagner; they think that they are musically and culturally extremely talented and sophisticated. We had this before.

The flow of pilgrims to the festival in Bayreuth continues unabated, despite Wagner's sinister, racist conspiracy theories, despite the involvement of his heirs with the rulers of the Nazi regime.
The Wagner-Villa "Wahnfried" was from the beginning a stronghold of evil.

For example Winifred Wagner. She was an English orphan raised in Germany who married Siegfried, the son of Richard Wagner and ran the Bayreuth Wagner Opera Festival until 1973, when it was taken over by a trust. Winnie's racist and reactionary views intensified when another British import came to Bayreuth, the writer Houston Stewart Chamberlain (1855-1927) a distant relation of of the appeasement politician Neville Chamberlain. Already in 1923 Winifred Wagner became member the NSPAD, the Nazi Party in Germany; her feelings for Hitler were those of boundless adoration. Hitler attended the Bayreuth Festival every July. As late as 1975, while recording a controversial television interview, she declared: "if Hitler were to walk through that door now... I'd be as happy and as glad to see him and have him here as ever."

The annual pilgrimage to the Wagner Festival in Bayreuth is a social highlight in Germany. Chancellor Merkel and her husband never miss the festival and this year ex-Chancellor Schroeder appeared with his new wife, spouse number five.

Twilight of the gods and the bad smell of the 1,000 years Reich. After more than 130 years since the death of the musician, it´s time to demystify the work and personality of Richard Wagner.