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Heil, Wagner! Antonovich Wants to Pull Composer's Work from Fest

Richard Wagner
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Angeleno Opera enthusiasts have been anticipating the long-planned Ring Festival LA, which will span multiple venues between mid-April and late June of 2010 and boast numerous performances by different organizations, each "providing its own unique point of view on the influences of [composer Richard] Wagner's art and philosophy from the 19th century to the present day," explains the LA Opera.But one area politician thinks Wagner's influence is not something to celebrate: "Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich is demanding that Los Angeles Opera discontinue the Ring Festival L.A. planned for next year, calling Richard Wagner a, 'Nazi composer'" reports LA Now. Antonovich sees too powerful an association between the much-lauded works of Wagner and the efforts of Adolf Hitler, noting in a press release:

To specifically honor and glorify the man whose music and racist anti-Semitic writings inspired Hitler and became the de facto soundtrack for the Holocaust in a countywide festival is an affront to those who have suffered or have been impacted by the horrors of Adolf Hitler’s National Socialistic Worker Party.

Although initially some interpreted Antovoich's objection to Wagner as a call to cancel the event--for which "singers are in rehearsal, posters are printed and tickets are on sale,"--he is urging LA Opera to substitute the Wagner selections with the work of other composers.