Israel Chamber Orchestra 2011 in Bayreuth

Latest news, updated October 12, 2010, 1:30 PM

Unique guest performance in Bayreuth

The Israel Chamber Orchestra will perform at the Stadthalle in 2011 under the baton of Roberto Paternostro

BAYREUTH – The Israel Chamber Orchestra and Music Director Roberto Paternostro will perform on July 26, 2011 at the Stadthalle Bayreuth, as part of the Franz Liszt anniversary events. Patron of this unique guest performance is Katharina Wagner. Program: works by Richard Wagner, Franz Liszt, Gustav Mahler and Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. Dr. Michael Hohl, Major City of Bayreuth, Katharina Wagner and Roberto Paternostro are pleased about the upcoming guest performance:

Mayor Dr. Michael Hohl:

"For Bayreuth, the performance of the Israel Chamber Orchestra at the opening of the 2011 Festival season is a very special – in fact groundbreaking – event. The particular role played by Bayreuth and Wagner in the ideology of the National Socialist dictatorship remains unforgotten today and, in light of such a cultural event, should not go unmentioned. One had wanted to be celebrated as the 'driving force of National Socialism' and had regularly welcomed the ruling powers of the time and their entourage as regular Festival guests.

The city of Bayreuth has confronted this dark era of aberration, intolerance and violence. And it continues to do so, more than 65 years after the end of the war, and supports all efforts to come to terms with the events of that era in a serious and credible manner. There will be no culture of forgetting and suppression in Bayreuth.

With this backdrop, it would appear to be a late and highly symbolic victory for tolerance, art and culture over the barbarity of dictatorship that the Israel Chamber Orchestra, led by conductor Roberto Paternostro, is to play a work by Richard Wagner at the Bayreuth Stadthalle. This circumstance signals clearly the extent to which Bayreuth is seen today as a cosmopolitan and tolerant cultural city with friendly ties around the world – and that this is possible without having to conceal the shadows of the past."

Patron Katharina Wagner:

On July 26th, 2011, the Israel Chamber Orchestra, led by conductor Roberto Paternostro, will give a concert in Bayreuth for the first time. It is an honor and a particular pleasure for me to be the patron of this guest performance. I find it a meaningful and progressive signal that this excellent orchestra with such a rich tradition will be playing a concert in Bayreuth around the same time as the Festival Opening.

The guest performance of the Israel Chamber Orchestra in Bayreuth is in my mind an outstanding contribution in the context of a growing harmonization between our countries. I am grateful for this strong, positive signal from Israel that a state orchestra has taken these steps towards Germany and the city of Bayreuth, has seized the initiative, and has included works by my great-grandfather in their concert program.

Conductor Roberto Paternostro:

"I am grateful to the Israel Chamber Orchestra and its musicians as well as all my colleagues in Tel Aviv for daring to take these steps together with me. I also thank the city of Bayreuth, who is doing all they can for us, and with us, to help build this bridge and Katharina Wagner for her willingness to be the patron of our guest performance.

For me it is important that this program includes not only Wagner's music, but also that of two important Jewish composers, Gustav Mahler and Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, and that these are connected to the German premiere of a work by the most important contemporary Israeli composer. I realize that parts of Richard Wagner's Weltanschauung and Bayreuth's relationship to the Nazi regime can neither be justified nor whitewashed. Yet I am convinced that it is possible to convey the musical significance of Wagner in a new and sophisticated way to the generation which is now coming of age without having to ignore the burdens or historic responsibility. For me it is a special artistic challenge to work with an orchestra which has performed the entire repertoire of music literature, yet has never played a note of Wagner.  

I come from a family which was not spared painful suffering in the Holocaust and thus realize the sensitivity of the issue, particularly in Israel. I respect the attitude of those who still associate Wagner's music with horrible memories and therefore reject it. The few attempts previously made to play Wagner's music in Israel have failed. But the mission must be to forge new paths – carefully – and perhaps in the near future it will be possible to break the ice. For this reason, I hope that this performance of Jewish musicians in Wagner's Festival city will send a positive signal of rapprochement, of tolerance, and an open, historically-informed cultural exchange between our countries, which are joined most of all by music."

Bayreuth, October 12, 2010
City of Bayreuth – Press Office
Kerstin Dettlaff-Mayer

Contact Roberto Paternostro:
Quintessenz PR: Mrs. Monika Csampai
Ferchenbachstr. 7
D-80995 Munich
Phone: +49 (0)89 - 150 50 99
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