Tags: Wagner

You Will Not Play Wagner

Ever since the Holocaust, performing works by the composer Richard Wagner has been taboo in Israel. Wagner’s anti-Semitism and the use of his music by the Nazis are well known. This unofficial ban has been challenged – unsuccessfully – by acclaimed Israeli conductors Zubin Meta and Daniel Barenboim, and opposition to Wagner’s music remains steadfast. You Will Not Play Wagner is set in contemporary Tel Aviv, where Ya’akov, a young Israeli, causes a storm by selecting to perform Wagner in the finals of an international competition for conductors. He comes into conflict with Esther, Holocaust survivor and competition patron who has her own tragic connection with Wagner’s music, and Morris, the competition organizer. Their arguments push the competition to the brink and set Israeli society on edge. Should Ya’akov play Wagner? Should the politics of his music interfere with the quality of his art? To what extent do we honor the memory of the Holocaust, its survivors and their descendants, without stifling the next generation? And would a Jewish Israeli conducting Wagner be treachery or triumph?