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Stop marketing Wagner – says Wagner

Nike Wagner, by far the most thoughtful of the descendants, has lashed out at the glut of Wagner marketing that lies ahead in the bicentennial year, 2013. She attacks ‘a tsunami of new publications about Wagner’ and ‘a madness’ that has overtaken German opera houses for the course of the year.

Nike, 67, was opening a Wagner exhibition in Berlin. Read a report of her Rede here (auf Deutsch).

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  1. Now that we’re in Wagner centennial fever, Nike talks about the “tsunami of new publications” about him. And she speaks about the new Wagner exhibit at the Akademie der Kunst in Berlin where many artists present their thoughts about his work – especially his anti-Semitism.

    With all of that, I suspect that not a single person will mention that the m/f ratio in the winds and percussion of the Bayreuth orchestra is 63 to 1. (That one woman among 63 men is the oboist Beate Aanderud.) It is interesting how past chauvinism is examined without taking note of current bigotry. Are they possibly correlated, since both are manifestations of patriarchy?

    On a related topic, here is an interesting article (in German) from Die Welt which describes the problems Asians face in the German orchestral world:

  2. How many Hindis and Pakistanis in the general UK population , not just among students, and how many of them in the orchestras? For reasons still unstudied Asian music students – almost exclusively female – invade the German Hochschule, much more than apparently in an other country with equally high quality of education. Then wish to be engaged in the orchestras, Hochschule, etc. When a student arrives in any foreign country on a student visa , it is implicit that the stay is for a few years. The Berlin Philharmonic or the Wiener should not excuse themselves for wishing to stick to their special sound and “breathing” . Lesser ensembles also have the right to their personality. There are plenty of possibilities – actually much more then in the Western world – for this sea of young Asian musicians to unfold their talent.
    And what does all this problematic have to do with the original subject?

    • It is related to the topic at hand because the Wagner centennial involves wide-ranging discussions about his chauvinsim. When you describe Asians in terms of an “invasion” or use phrases like “this sea of young Asian musicians” you ironically reveal the issue under discussion. The same applies to the implicit assumption that Asians would destroy the sound of an orchestra.

  3. What is the picture, above? part of a Wagner ‘Nutcracker’ marketing effort? or a new line of “Hello Kitty”?
    (i.e., “Hello, Mousies”), or of a Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang, Wagner warehouse couture show?

    • For anyone missing the reference (the discussion on these pages seems to have disappeared), google “Lohengrin Bayreuth 2011″.

    • Quarnerius says:

      Dear Ed,

      That picture is featuring the rat costumes from the latest Lohengrin production, filmed at the Bayreyth Festival. Production by Hans Neuenfels. This controversial Lohengrin version is available on DVD and Blu-ray by Opus Arte. Highly recommended, striking music experience, wonderful soloists!

  4. Istvan Horthy says:

    They were members of the chorus in last year’s production of “Lohengrin”.

  5. “by far the most thoughtful of the descendants’ ?? You might be wight as the other one are just about to ruin Bayreuth with their horrible taste for the Festival. However Nike was Dramaturg in Munich for the Alden RING and was bad too. None of them should run Bayreuth, simply not capable and only there because of the Name Wagner.
    Eva was a poor advisor of the RING Simon Rattle has done for Aix and Salzburg (Easter) and never ever was really successful for casting opera, highly overrated. Nevertheless the unprofessional Wagner sisters have nothing to do with your false argument about Asian in German orchestras. There are many who love it and even the Berlin Philharmonic have a concert master who is Asian. Listen to Barenboim (the greatest humanist around) when it comes to Wagner: Listen to his music and not to the rubbish he wrote. Most of you never listen to anything but just write polemic articles.

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