Posted July 27, 2011

Israel and Wagner are rarerly uttered in the same sentence.


Tradition was shattered in Bayreuth on July 25th when Roberto Paternostro, a Jewish descendant of a family who lost 80% of its members in the Holocaust, led the Israel Chamber Orchestra in a performance of the Siegfried Idyll.  Present in the the front row were Katharina Wagner and Eva Wagner-Pasquier, decendents of Richard Wagner.

The performance ended with stunned silence, followed by a standing ovation.

The program was:

Mahler – Ruckert Lieder, Dietrich Henschel, baritone

Mendelssohn – “Italian” Symphony

Tzvi Avni – “Prayer”

Liszt – “Angelus!”

Wagner – “Sigfried – Idyll”


Here is the full report from NPR’s Robert Siegel and you can also hear the report in a 5-minute podcast – by clicking the Listen to the Story icon at the top.

Alex Ross also describes his visit to Bayreuth and he also attended the concert