[First of all, wanted to let you know that I'm on BBC Radio 3's IN TUNE today between 5 and 5.30pm, talking about the Royal Philharmonic Awards shortlist, which is being announced this afternoon.]
In an interview with Mannheim Morgenweb the one and only Jonas Kaufmann talks about - among other things - Wagner, anti-Semitism and how to separate them. Below are a few highlights (any mistakes are either mine or Google Translate's) and the whole thing in German is here. In case you didn't know, he is giving a recital with orchestra in London at the Royal Festival Hall on 21 April including arias by the anniversary boys Verdi and Wagner.
... it appears that you currently working a lot on your piano. Optical illusion?
do not be fooled. I
lay on the soft and subtle sounds at least as much value as the large and
old rule for singers is: only those who have a sonorous piano can develop a healthy forte. But
this concerns not only technical matters, but above all the artistic.
position do you refer in the matter of Wagner? Can
you separate the wonderful work of vile anti-Semites?
Wagner's anti-Semitic writings and his self-esteem will always be a stumbling
militant Wagnerians wish sometimes that he had only composed, and not written so much. But
as for your question, I think you should separate work and man, just as one
should distinguish the anti-Semitism of nationalists like Wagner from the
antisemitism of the Nazis.
Does that work?
The fact that Wagner's works have been abused by the Nazis does not alter
their artistic importance. They
belong to the greatest. Many Jewish artists who were expelled by the Nazis from Germany
and Austria have also recognised this: singers like Friedrich Schorr had no problem with Wagner being performed
at the Met. And
someone like Daniel Barenboim has long worked for the performance of Wagner in Israel
to be allowed.