Israel Wagner Society Efforts Thwarted

The continued efforts of the Israel Wagner Society to stage a concert of music composed by Richard Wagner have hit another wall after the Tel Aviv Hilton hotel changed its mind and cancelled the show.

As previously reported by Classic FM, the Israel Wagner Society have been attempting to break the cultural boycott of Wagner’s music by performing a concert of the composer’s music for the first time in Israel since the state’s creation in 1948. Opposition to Wagner’s music has been in place since the Eretz Yisrael Symphony Israel Orchestra – later the Israel Philharmonic – stopped performing the composer’s music in 1938 in the wake of the Nazi Kristallnacht pogroms. 

A reported anti-Semite, he was also Adolf Hitler’s favourite composer. 

Following the Tel Aviv University’s decision to shelve the concert in the wave of passionate opposition from various groups including Holocaust survivors, the Israel Wagner Society seemed to have found a venue in the Tel Aviv Hilton Hotel but that offer has now been withdrawn.

Jonathan Livny, founder of the Israel Wagner Society said: "Everything was agreed upon with the Hilton's management. Even the type of chairs – we signed a detailed contract, including which pieces would be played." 

He added: "We don’t know the reason for cancellation. Meanwhile, this whole ordeal is dragging out huge expenses." 

The society is still keen to host the concert but its efforts to find a new venue have met with little success in the face of such a hostile reception. 

Referring to the German town that hosts its own annual Wagner festival, Livny said: "It seems we'll have to build a Bayreuth in Israel."