Israeli Opera Director Hanna Munitz has asked Jasmin Vardimon, who established her dance company in London in 1997, to remove and replace the overture of Richard Wagner's "Tannhauser" from the opening of her show, "7734" with a different musical piece, Haaretz reported.
Israel has boycotted Wagner's music because of the composer's anti-Semitism and his descendants' complicity with Nazism during World War II..
"After I was invited to perform in Israel I was told that I wouldn't be able to include the Wagner piece," Vardimon told Haaretz. "I debated the issue for a long time, and consulted many people whose opinions I appreciate. I've decided to do it out of respect for the Israeli audience."
Munitz said in 1998 she opened debate to find out whether Israelis would be open to hearing Wagner's music.
"People cried and wept," Munitz said. "The debate was the most emotionally charged event I've ever attended. I then decided that, as long as I'm in this job, it won't happen. I'm not here to inflict misery on anyone."
"The fact that the issue came up highlights the relationship between art and politics, which is a central theme of my work," Vardimon said. "I have considered other 'authorized' Nazi composers, like Carl Orff and [Richard] Strauss, whose music is played in Israel, but have yet to find the right replacement."
Vardimon's show is set to open May 24.
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