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Her Wagner Routine Nixed, Bolshoi Ballerina Rocks Jerusalem with ‘Schindler’s List’

Talk about course correction

Liel Leibovitz
September 05, 2017
Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

When Svetlana Zakharova—the prima ballerina of the Bolshoi ballet, nicknamed the Tsarina of Dance—was asked to perform in Jerusalem this Monday, she knew precisely to what music she’d like to Plié. But when she informed the organizing committee of her selection, she received a terse and immediate reply: We don’t play Wagner in the Jewish State.

The ban on the composer, Hitler’s favorite, is a recurring controversy dogging Israel’s classical music community. In 2001, for example, Daniel Barenboim got audience members shrieking when he announced, after playing Schumann and Stravinsky, that he’d now lead his Berlin Staatskapelle orchestra in selections from Tristan and Isolde. Many present stormed out of the concert hall, and the ban on the German composer continued in full force.

Instead of dancing to Wagner, then, Zakharova did a real En Tournant and announced that she’ll perform to the soundtrack from Schindler’s List instead. Here it is, if you’re in to that sort of thing:

Liel Leibovitz is editor at large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One. He is the editor of Zionism: The Tablet Guide.

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