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Trivia / Richard Wagner

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  • Banned in China: Owing to the associations with Nazi Germany and his notorious anti-Semitism, Wagner's music is more or less farbotn in Israel.
    • This is starting to change; his music has been performed in Israel, to a mixed reception. Half the crowd loved it, the other half hated it.
    • On a more practical note, a common reasoning behind avoiding playing his music is that Wagner was often blaring over the speakers at concentration camps, so hearing that music was feared to be extremely upsetting - and even setting off PTSD - for Holocaust survivors. That reason would soon cease to be relevant as that generation is dying out.
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    • Ironically, Theodor Herzl, founder of Zionism and a major figure in the creation of Israel, was a Wagner fan. To the point of using Wagnerian imagery at the First Zionist Congress. Which is really just one of those things...
    • In 2001, Conductor Daniel Barenboim led the Israel Philharmonic in a Wagner concert. A number of the musicians refused to perform, some even showing Barenboim Holocaust number tattoos on their arms before leaving.
    • In 2010, an Israeli orchestra was invited to play at the next year's Wagner music festivalnever mind.
    • In fact, during WW2, his music was banned even in English speaking countries like America and Britain.
  • Career Resurrection: Tristan und Isolde, the first of his music-dramas performed in fifteen years, brought him back after the Revolutions of 1848.
  • Completely Different Title: Most European nations translate the title of Der fliegende Holländer directly. The French always thought this sounded silly, and so gave it the title Le Bateau Fantôme (The Ghost Ship) or Le Vaisseau Fantôme (The Ghost Vessel).
    • As did Russians. In USSR, Der fliegende Holländer was performed under the title The Wandering Sailor. Now, though, they have returned to the original.
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  • Genre Popularizer: The modern idea of opera - as a serious, thought-provoking art form, as full of fat ladies in horned helmets - comes largely from Wagner. Besides creating modern opera, his writings on the Gesamtkunstwerk also played a huge role in the development of The Musical and film scoring (the latter of which was also influenced by his ideas about orchestration and frequent use of leitmotiv).
  • Old Shame: His first two works, Die Feen ("The Fairies") and Das Liebesverbot ("The Ban on Love"). The third, Rienzi, der Letzte der Tribunen ("Rienzi, the Last of the Tribunes"), suffered Creator Backlash, but is still sometimes performed today.
  • What Could Have Been: After Parsifal, Wagner planned to spend the rest of his life composing symphonies. Unfortunately, he did not live that long.
    • On the subject of Parsifal, he planned to rewrite Klingsor for the castrato Domenico Mustafa.
    • Also, Wagner once planned a music drama on the life of Buddha and one about the wedding of Martin Luther and Katharina von Bora.


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