Drama Surrounds LA Opera's Performance of “Der Ring”

A county supervisor wants the Los Angeles Opera to cancel next year's performances of Wagner's Ring Cycle because of the composer's anti-Semitic writings.

Supervisor Mike Antonovich said Holocaust survivors and their families are offended by the festival honoring Wagner. He suggested the opera company rearrange the festival's program by including other composers to take the focus off Wagner.

Antonovich released a statement.

"To specifically honor and glorify the man whose music and racist anti-Semitic writings inspired (Adolf) Hitler and became the de facto soundtrack for the Holocaust in a countywide festival is an affront to those who have suffered or have been impacted by the horrors of Adolf Hitler’s National Socialistic Worker Party," Antonovich said in the statement.

Along with a multimedia presentation on The Ring, the Opera addresses Wagner's anti-Semitism on its website.

"It is important to note here that while Richard Wagner is considered one of the most important and influential of all composers, he is also rightly reviled as having been an anti-Semite. Wagner's writings on the subject percolated into German politics and popular culture and, decades after the composer's death, were celebrated by Adolph Hitler and the Third Reich. It is the Company's belief that opera has value not only as musical and theatrical entertainment, but as a way to gain important historical insight and to explore moral issues. Ring Festival LA will specifically address the subject of Wagner's anti-Semitism in several contexts, including seminars, panel conversations and performances."

Tickets for the event are already on sale.

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