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Richard Wagner and the German feeling
Richard Wagner experienced and shaped the 19th century in very different positions - as a powerful composer and employed court musician, but also as an author, a revolutionary, an exile, a bankrupt, a protégé of wealthy patrons and a king, a theatre reformer, a festival founder. He was not only a witness to political upheavals and currents, but also registered, took up and (re)shaped the social and emotional sensitivities of his time - as an artist as well as an entrepreneur. In doing so, Wagner shows himself to be an emotional technician who, in an increasingly commercialized world, redefined the social significance of art - and of the artist. To this end, he developed strategies in which emotions play a leading role. His ideas of the music drama as a Gesamtkunstwerk were always also a critique of modernism. They were thus characterized by the aspiration to change not only the individual, but society as a whole - a desire that can also be found in Karl Marx in a different form and expression. Wagner was an anti-Semite. To what extent his staging of emotions, his ideas about music and art, his fantasies about oppression and redemption, as well as his critique of modernity were influenced by this anti-Semitism or contributed to anti-Semitism is still a matter of debate today. The exhibition looks at Wagner's enactments of concrete feelings and places the history of his conception back into the context of the 19th century.
The exhibition is curated by Michael Steinberg. The scientific co-curator is Katharina J. Schneider.
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