The morning after Francois Girard signed off the final cut of his movie from my novel The Song of Names, he was on stage at the Met for the first rehearsal of the Flying Dutchman. We shared several pleasanteries about the dichotomy, but Wagner is no laughing matter.
Here’s Francois, talking this weekend to his hometown music magazine, Ludwig Van:
My perspective on Wagner is this: Yes, you can treat his pieces any way you want. But I am against the kidnapping of any opera when a creative individual expressed himself through it. With Flying Dutchman, you are already exposed to deeper elements. I am here to merely have a reading of them. You do what Wagner wrote and to serve any other cause is wrong. Yes, the question of anti-Semitism is always present in Wagner’s case. But people have to put it in context. If Wagner was guilty then a lot of Europe was the same at the time, But from a dramaturgical point of view, from a staging point of view, his work remains the brightest and the purest.
The movie opens this weekend in Israel and Spain.
Girard (l.) with TSON composer Howard Shore and soloist Ray Chen