Claremont Insider: Antonovich Pans Wagner

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Antonovich Pans Wagner

Soundrack for the Holocaust

Claremont's County Supervisor, Michael D. Antonovich, weighed in on the plans by L.A. Opera to stage a "Ring" Festival next year, featuring composer Richard Wagner's famous work, Der Ring des Nibelungen.

Antonovich is not amused.

It seems Antonovich doesn't have enough to do riding in local Fourth of July parades, solving the County budget isses, doling out County largesse and getting backroom deals made. These days everybody's a critic, and Mike has become an opera critic.

He issued a statement Tuesday decrying the idea that that the "Ring" Festival should bring out any pieces by that ol' anti-Semite, Richard Wagner. His press release, which we haven't found on his County website, is quoted on LA Now:

“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.”

He goes on to suggest that maybe the Wagner "Ring" Festival could “delete the focus on Wagner and incorporate other composers as headliners including Mozart, Puccini, Verdi, Schubert, Schumann, Meyerbeer, Mendelssohn and others.”

So Supervisor Mike joins that band of modern-day censors--Pomona President David Oxtoby is another--who subscribe to the Cootie Theory of Historical Cleansing and Rewriting: Because we find objectionable something, somewhere, related to a piece, let's do some feel-good hand-wringing to put our own goodness and superiority on display and trash everything related to the "badness" we have identified.

Supervisor Antonovich in Claremont's 2009 Fourth of July Parade