The town of Karlsruhe is putting on a new opera at the end of next month. It’s called Wahnfried and it’s about a crackpot Englishman who became the living connection between Wagner and Hitler.
Houston Stewart Chamberlain was an an obsessive anti-semite and Wagner fanatic who married the composer’s daughter Eva and made his home in Bayreuth. Chamberlain’s racialist tome, The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, formed a vital part of Adolf Hitler’s political education. Hitler befriended the elderly Chamberlain and made the long journey to Bayreuth to attend his funeral.
The opera Wahnfried is based on that relationship. The composer is the Israeli-American Avner Dorman and the director is Keith Warner, a veteran of outstanding Ring cycles. Justin Brown conducts.
The cast includes Matthias Wohlbrecht as Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Christina Niessen as Cosima Wagner, Andrew Watts / Eric Jurenas as Siegfried Wagner and Barbara Dobrzanska as Anna Chamberlain. The opera will premiere on January 28.