Israeli musicians plan to break Richard Wagner taboo


A classical music event in Israel is expected to break the country’s taboo on performing the music of Richard Wagner, the 19th century German composer and a well-known anti-Semite.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported this week that the event, scheduled for June 18, will feature orchestral musicians performing selections from Wagner’s “Der Ring des Nibelungen” and other operas.

The event will be an academic symposium at Tel Aviv University devoted to Wagner, conductor Arturo Toscanini and Theodor Herzl, the famed Zionist leader. The symposium, organized by the Israel Wagner Society, will feature a concert portion of 100 hired musicians, reported Haaretz.


Wagner’s music has been unofficially banned in what is now Israel since 1938. Wagner held anti-Semitic views and his music eventually became a favorite of Adolf Hitler.

The June event in Tel Aviv won’t be the first time that musicians have broken the Wagner taboo in Israel. In 2001, conductor Daniel Barenboim led a concert in Jerusalem that featured an encore performance of a selection from Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde.”


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