Associar Wolfgang Wagner ao nazismo parece-me ser tão desprezível como identificar a sumptuosa obra wagneriana com o miserável discurso nazi. Como disse e mantenho, se os nazis apreciavam Wagner, tal facto apenas prova que a bestialidade acéfala que os governava era imperfeita, no mais nobre dos sentidos!
A 21 de Março, com 90 primaveras, falece Wolfgang Wagner. Com grande pena minha, acrescento e sublinho.
Wolfgang sempre foi ofuscado pelo génio do irmão Wieland, cujas sublimes encenações mantêm, hoje como ontem, toda a actualidade e deslumbramento. Onde Wieland era criativo, Wolfgang era astuto e pragmático. Com punho de aço ou sem ele, Wolfgang geriu o Festival de Bayreuth sabiamente sendo, desde o prematuro falecimento do irmão, em 1966, o sumo farol do mesmo evento.
Provas da sua fantástica gestão? A dupla Boulez / Chéreau, que encenou o centenário d’O Anel, em 1976, trabalhou e criou, apenas e só, por Wolgang Wagner. Toda a nata da mise-en-scène que pisou Bayreuth, desde meados da década de 1960, fê-lo conduzida pelo hábil e astuto braço de Wolfgang. And so on...
Aqui para nós, fiel e paciente leitor, se os abomináveis cancros que têm passado pelo nosso São Carlos tivessem um décimo do talento de WW, outro galo cantaria na sala lisboeta!
É certo que as encenações do Senhor W. Wagner rapidamente passaram à história. E então? Gobbi, que era um intérprete genial, como metteur-en-scène, nunca saiu do anonimato...
Com ou sem talento artístico, mais ou menos ligado ao nazismo, prepotente ou não, Wolfgang Wagner era uma referência na gestão cultural. Indubitavelmente.
Paz à sua Alma.
«Mr. Wagner was considered an able administrator if a rather stolid opera director. (In 2001, The New Criterion called him the “supremely less talented” of Siegfried Wagner’s two sons.) Over the decades, he was described variously as a savior and a dictator.
On the one hand, his supporters argued, he helped dispel the shadow of Nazism that hung over Bayreuth and freshened hidebound productions by bringing in outside directors. On the other, said his detractors — several were members of his own family — he was an autocrat who turned the festival into his personal fief.
In a condolence letter that was released to the news media, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany called Mr. Wagner an “exceptional director.” By contrast, as The Independent of London reported in 2001, the Bavarian culture minister once called him an “old goat.”
Throughout Wolfgang Wagner’s career, there were also lingering public questions about the extent to which he had broken with his family’s Nazi past. Many of them were raised by Mr. Wagner’s son, Gottfried, in his own bitter family biography.
The drama opened in the 19th century, when Richard Wagner, the composer of “Lohengrin,” “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg” and the Ring cycle, among other works, became a major force in world opera. After his death, Cosima assumed control of Bayreuth. Siegfried succeeded her in the early 20th century.
In 1915, Siegfried, in his mid-40s and openly gay, married the English-born Winifred Williams, 18. On his death, she took over the festival. An ardent anti-Semite, Winifred maintained a close friendship with Hitler, who visited Bayreuth often. (She was reported to have given Hitler the writing paper on which he composed “Mein Kampf.”) As a boy, Wolfgang studied music privately in Bayreuth and later studied theater in Berlin.
In 1939, after enlisting in the German Army, Wolfgang took part in the invasion of Poland and was wounded. (The invasion, as one of his sisters explained in “The Wagner Family,” a documentary shown on British television last year, was planned at Bayreuth using Wolfgang’s geography textbook.)
After the war, Bayreuth needed to shed its Nazi image. In 1951, the festival reopened, de-Nazified, with Wieland and Wolfgang as joint directors. Their mother, an unreconstructed Nazi sympathizer, was banished from the opera house. Wieland’s productions, known for their avant-garde minimalism, were widely praised. Wolfgang’s, including a 1953 “Lohengrin,” were more conventional and less well received.
On Wieland’s death in 1966, Wolfgang became Bayreuth’s sole artistic director. Though he continued to stage operas himself, he was also noted for bringing in world-class foreign directors — the first from outside the family — among them the theater director Patrice Chéreau and the conductor Daniel Barenboim, who is Jewish.
As the century drew to a close, rumblings about succession began in earnest. Mr. Wagner championed his second wife, Gudrun, whom he married in 1976. Another claimant was Eva Wagner-Pasquier, his estranged daughter from his first marriage. (Eva was banished after Mr. Wagner divorced his first wife, Ellen Drexel, to marry Gudrun. In an interview with The Financial Times in 2000, she called her father “a little dictator.”)
Also clamoring to run Bayreuth was Nike Wagner, Wieland’s daughter. An outspoken critic of her uncle, she was long since banished; her caustic book, “The Wagners: The Dramas of a Musical Dynasty” (Weidenfeld & Nicolson; translated by Ewald Osers and Michael Downes), appeared in 2000.
A third candidate was Katharina Wagner, Wolfgang’s daughter by Gudrun, to whom he shifted his allegiance after Gudrun’s death in 2007. Her partly naked “Meistersinger,” widely seen as her audition for the job, was booed by many in Bayreuth’s audience.
Not in contention was a son, Gottfried, from Mr. Wagner’s first marriage. After the publication of his book, which questioned the degree to which his father had repudiated the family’s Nazi past, Gottfried was banished. The book appeared in English in 1999 as “Twilight of the Wagners : The Unveiling of a Family’s Legacy” (Picador USA; translated by Della Couling).
Mr. Wagner’s survivors include his children, Gottfried, Eva and Katharina; a sister, Verena; and grandchildren.