Tannhäuser with gas chambers

John Podsnap

John Podsnap

Burkhard C. Kosminski’s production, staged by Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf Duisburg, elicited this remark from James Kennaway, described as an historian:

While Wagner has questions to answer in relation to the Third Reich, a degree of subtlety would help.

Dalrymple’s comment:

Mr Kennaway presumably meant that Wagner was an important figure in a nasty intellectual (or at any rate ideological) tradition that, in the event, led to Nazism. True, but he was also something else; and in any case this is not the same as ‘having questions to answer,’ a formulation that combines the inexactitude of the pub bore with the moral self-examination of Mr Podsnap.

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