Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hitler's Favorite Composer

Father leaves great grand daughter with a weighty historical legacy

From outsiders, always questions. From the insiders, always silence. If Katharina Wagner, the great-grand daughter of Richard Wagner, gets her way, it will be answers.

The 31- year-old stage director recently took over as co-director of the Beyreuth Festival, Richard Wagner's own opera house, after a long and fierce family battle. The Festival began 133 years ago to showcase Wagner's work.

Sculpture of Richard Wagner by Arno Brekker, Hitler's favorite sculpture.

There has been a long association of Wagner's name and works with racism and anti-semitism. Adolf Hitler was his a fan of the composer's music as well as his anti-Jewish views. Hitler thought that Wagner's opera's spoke to his vision of the future of the German nation. Wagner's influence on Nazism is still debated today. and saw in Wagner's operas an embodiment of his own vision of the German nation.

Now Katharina wants to access the history even though some members of her family are against it. She has asked independent investigators to delve into her family connection to the Nazi regime and to open up the private archives of her father Wolfgang Wagner.

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