Proms 2013: Jewish conductor Daniel Barenboim defends performance of anti-Semitic Wagner's Ring cycle
'It is Wagner's greatest misfortune that he became Hitler's favourite composer', says Israeli conductor
Renowned Jewish conductor Daniel Barenboim has defended his upcoming performance of the Ring cycle by Wagner, a composer known for his anti-Semitic views.
The Argentine-Israeli will perform the cycle in its entirety at this summer's Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, which is his first Wagner opera in the UK.
Speaking to the Radio Times about performing music by Hitler's favourite composer, he said: "First of all, one has to say Wagner's anti-Semitism is abhorrent, beyond anything that is acceptable.
"He was a German nationalist in the second half of the 19th century. All nationalists at this time - in England, France, Germany, Russia - were anti-Semitic. It was not unusual.
The 70-year-old, who lived in Israel from the age of ten after his family moved from Argentina, added: "Hitler saw in him - and in his anti-Semitism - a prophet and it is Wagner's greatest misfortune that he became Hitler's favourite composer. That was not Wagner's fault. And the operas are not anti-Semitic.
"They don't deal with the anti-Semitic questions. If they did, I don't think I would be able to perform them."
Is the comedy album making a comeback?comedy
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Secret Cinema interview: Why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 Iraq crisis: End 'very near' for Christianity after Isis takeover, says Bishop
Secret Cinema interview: Why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
Game of Thrones: season 4 bloopers unveiled at Comic-Con 2014
Best movies on Netflix UK and US: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
50 best running songs: From Avicii and Pharrell Williams to the classic 'Eye of the Tiger'
Doctor Who series 8: Watch Peter Capaldi in new ‘Listen!’ teaser trailer
Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia