Ovation for Israeli orchestra in Wagner's Bayreuth
A first-ever concert by an Israeli orchestra in Bayreuth, home to an annual festival of works by Hitler's favourite composer Richard Wagner, received a standing ovation on Tuesday.
"It was a joy for us to play Wagner here," said Roberto Paternostro, conductor of the Israel Chamber Orchestra after its performance in Bavaria, southern Germany.
The concert was dominated by works of Jewish composers, including Gustav Mahler and Felix Mendelssohn, but concluded with Wagner's "Siegfried Idyll".
It was not officially part of the 100th Bayreuth Festival that began on Monday with a performance of Wagner's romantic opera "Tannhaeuser" in the concert hall built by the composer in the 1870s on Bayreuth's famed Green Hill.
Wagner died in 1883 and Hitler was greatly impressed by his music with its use of epic Germanic and Norse mythology, becoming a frequent guest of the family and the festival even before he came to power in 1933.
Wagner's work has been off-limits in Israel as a result and his music is subject to an unwritten ban.
When Israeli-Argentine conductor Daniel Barenboim led the Berlin Staatskapelle in a performance of an excerpt from "Tristan und Isolde" in Jerusalem in 2001, dozens of audience members stormed out.
Wagner's great-granddaughter Katharina Wagner, who since 2009 has run the festival with her half-sister Eva Wagner-Pasquier, sat in the front row for Tuesday's concert.
© 2011 AFP