Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

thescroll_header

The Problem With Wagner Festivals

They lead to naked dancing on the German chancellor’s plane

Print Email
Wagner Bust in a Thrift Store in Colorado.(Adam Chandler)

Our archives are stocked thick with the very potent moral questions about the Jewish relationship with infamously anti-Semitic composer Richard Wagner. Earlier this year, Liel Leibovitz wrote on playwright Joshua Sobel’s attempt to bring the composer’s story to Israel was not met with enthusiasm. Meanwhile, David P. Goldman wrote about how Wagner’s music is effectively banned in Israel and asked whether it should be. Two years, on a trip to Germany, the Israeli Philharmonic made the daring decision to perform Wagner’s Siegfreid Idyll after a rousing rendition of Hatikvah.

As usual, I have nothing new or insightful to add to the debate, but there is a cautionary tale about the dangers of attending a Wagner festival, in this case, the Wagner Opera Festival at Beyreuth. German premier Angela Merkel happened to attend it last month and when she left her plane, it was breached by a bodybuilder on some serious drugs, who stripped down to his skivvies and partied there for several hours.

Reports said he stripped down to his underpants, sprayed fire extinguisher foam around the elegant cream and beige interior, pushed buttons in the cockpit, released an inflatable emergency slide and danced on the wing of the Airbus 319.

The plane, which is also used by other top state officials including President Joachim Gauck, was delivered three years ago and is one of two medium range A319 jets in the government fleet. It has a private office, a conference room that seats 12 and a main cabin with room for 32.

He was eventually bitten by a police dog nearly four hours later. However, more frighteningly, the cockpit of the plane was open. I think we all know what the intruder would have listened to had he managed to get the plane started.

Print Email

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

The Problem With Wagner Festivals

They lead to naked dancing on the German chancellor’s plane

More on Tablet:

Welcoming Tablet’s New Contributors

By Alana Newhouse — Paul Berman, Matti Friedman, Todd Gitlin, Heather Rogers, and Marc Weitzmann Give Us Five Reasons to Celebrate the New Year