The Wagner Journal

Ingrid Kapsamer, Wieland Wagner’s Intellectual Path

Ingrid Kapsamer, Wieland Wagner’s Intellectual Path

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March 2013, Volume 7, Number 1, 39–65.

It rested upon the shoulders of the heirs and young festival leaders, Wieland and Wolfgang Wagner, to rehabilitate an institution to which clung the stigma of its misguided political sympathies, its exploitation as the artistic flagship of the Third Reich and its alliance with Hitler–Germany until 1945 – Hitler’s Court Theatre, as it was described by Thomas Mann. Conscious of this inheritance, Wieland Wagner gave an important stimulus to European music theatre after 1945 with his work as a director and designer, and shaped the era from 1951 to 1966: an era which is identical to the Bayreuth Festival’s unprecedented, profound change of image. The radical artistic restart which he initiated permitted the deliberate establishment of a meaningful new identity for the Wagner theatre, and triggered an international Wagner Renaissance in the 1950s.

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