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Rising Israeli maestro Wellber loves Strauss, accordion too

By Michael Roddy DRESDEN, Germany (Reuters) - Omer Wellber says it's usually after the second question that journalists start asking him what it's like to be an Israeli-born conductor. He doesn't say how long it takes them to start quizzing him about his love for the accordion. At 32, Wellber is undoubtedly the first "sabra" - an Israeli-born Jew - to make a huge hit conducting Verdi's "Aida" in Padua, Italy, where he stepped in at short notice in 2008.

Wagner great grand-daughter to quit Bayreuth Festival

Eva Wagner-Pasquier, great grand-daughter of German composer Richard Wagner, is to quit as co-chief of the legendary Bayreuth Festival in September 2015, according to a newspaper report Friday. Wagner-Pasquier, 68, currently runs the annual summer music bash dedicated exclusively to Wagner's operas, with her much younger half-sister Katharina Wagner, 36. They were originally appointed in 2008, taking over from their father Wolfgang Wagner (1919-2010), and their contracts are scheduled to expire in September 2015.

Vienna Philharmonic welcomes 2014 with concert dedicated to peace, harmony

Vienna, Jan 1 (EFE).- Argentine-Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim led the Vienna Philharmonic at its traditional New Year's Day concert on Wednesday, sending a message of peace to the world and celebrating life. The Golden Hall of Vienna's Musikverein, the most monumental concert hall in the Austrian capital, was decorated with thousands of roses from San Remo for the traditional Jan. 1 concert.

Crazed Israeli protester disrupts Wagner symposium in Jerusalem

By Ori Lewis JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A crazed Israeli protester, angered that a symposium on Tuesday focused on Richard Wagner, Adolf Hitler's favorite composer, disrupted a public discussion at a Jerusalem concert hall before police removed him. The event, and a planned concert on Wednesday which was cancelled earlier because of bad weather, aimed to mark the 200th year of the birth of Wagner, whose anti-Semitic ideology inspired Hitler's National Socialist ethos.

Curtain rises on legendary Bayreuth Wagner Festival

Germany's legendary Bayreuth Festival -- the climax of this year's Richard Wagner bicentenary -- opened Thursday with a gala performance attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Joachim Gauck. The glitzy opening night, a highlight on Germany's social calendar, drew crowds of onlookers to watch the rich and famous drive up Bayreuth's fabled Green Hill to the Festspielhaus theatre.

Star conductor Thielemann steals show at Wagner Fest

German maestro Christian Thielemann was given a tumultuous reception at the opening night of this year's legendary Bayreuth Festival, a performance of Richard Wagner's "The Flying Dutchman". In a glitzy gala attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel and German President Joachim Gauck, it was Thielemann who earned the most applause at the end of the evening. The German conductor is regarded by many as the festival's unofficial general music director and as currently one of the best Wagner interpreters around.

What's on at Bayreuth Wagner opera festival

The Bayreuth Festival, the annual month-long summer music fest dedicated to Richard Wagner (1813-1883), is staging seven operas in the bicentenary year. The curtain goes up on the festival's 102nd edition on Thursday with a revival of a production of "The Flying Dutchman" by German director Jan Philipp Gloger. But the main attraction this year -- and seen as the highlight of the worldwide Wagner 200 celebrations -- is a brand new production of the composer's huge four-opera "Ring" cycle by German "bad boy" director Frank Castorf.

Bayreuth Festival chief dampens hopes on Hitler letters

Katharina Wagner, who co-runs the legendary Bayreuth Festival dedicated to the works of her great-grandfather Richard Wagner, dampened hopes Sunday that letters between Adolf Hitler and the Wagner family could be published. In an interview in the Sunday edition of the Tagesspiegel newspaper, Katharina reiterated her pledge to hand over the private papers of her father, Wolfgang Wagner, to the Bavarian State Archive, with the aim of shedding new light on the festival's history. "This will mean that historians and scholars can have access to this material," she said.

Celebrated German conductor Wolfgang Sawallisch dead at 89

Wolfgang Sawallisch, one of Germany's greatest conductors, has died at the age of 89, the Bavarian State Opera, where he was general music director and manager for 20 years, announced on Sunday. Sawallisch died late Friday at his home in Grassau, upper Bavaria, the opera said in a statement. "The Bavarian State Opera is deeply saddened by the death of Wolfgang Sawallisch," said the opera's current chief Nikolaus Bachler.

Bag pheasants, cue Dutchman for Wagner time in Hungary

(Contains profanity in paragraph eight) By Michael Roddy BUDAPEST, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Only in Hungary would you see two hunters in full field regalia, with peaked hats, stride proudly into the backstage coffee house of the National Opera House one day with a brace of pheasants and find those birds on stage the next.
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