But the Partystimmung (party atmosphere) can be a little problematic at times.
How do you celebrate the bicentenary of a great composer who also happened to be an anti-Semite, who posthumously inspired Hitler, and whose works featured prominently in the cultural life of the Third Reich?
That’s easy, really. You do what you’ve got to do with Wagner (if you’re a Wagner fan or a German unable to ignore him). As Friedrich Nietzsche said 125 years ago: “The Germans have cooked up a Wagner whom they can honor. And they are thankful for being able to misunderstand him.”
And as Woody Allen said quite some time later: “I just can’t listen to any more Wagner, you know…I’m starting to get the urge to conquer Poland.”
“Die Deutschen haben sich einen Wagner zurechtgemacht, den sie verehren können: … sie sind damit dankbar, dass sie missverstehn.”