Barenboim defends performing Wagner at the Proms

By Ellis Bolle, July 16, 2013
Daniel Barenboim (Photo: Fernando Delgado Béjar)

Daniel Barenboim (Photo: Fernando Delgado Béjar)

The renowned conductor Daniel Barenboim has defended his decision to perform music by Wagner, the German composer known for his anti semitic views, at this year’s Proms

The Argentine-Israeli musician will conduct the entire Ring cycle at the Royal Albert Hall this summer, despite acknowledging that “Wagner's antisemitism is abhorrent, beyond anything that is acceptable" .

Speaking to the Radio Times, Mr Barenboim said: “Hitler saw in him - and in his antisemitism - a prophet and it is Wagner's greatest misfortune that he became Hitler's favourite composer. That was not Wagner's fault. And the operas are not antisemitic . They don't deal with the antisemitic questions. If they did, I don't think I would be able to perform them.”

In 2011, a Knesset committe called for a boycott of Mr Barenboim after he conducted a performance of Tristan and Isolde at Jerusalem's international convention centre.

In his interview, Mr Barenboim, a noted critic of Israeli government policy, also discussed Israel's conflict with Palestine.

He said: "I cannot feel at home in Israel now. I ache too much for what is going on there. I find Israel's occupation of Palestinian land abhorrent."

Last updated: 10:57am, July 17 2013