The opera that Hitler sketched

The opera that Hitler sketched


norman lebrecht

March 01, 2020

A sheet of sketches by the young Adolf Hitler for an opera titled Wieland der Schmied has gone on exhibition in Lower Austria this weekend.




  • -- says:

    .. because Hitler was austrian . (Beethoven was german, by the way).

    • Mike Schachter says:

      Quite right, local boy made bad. I understand that Stalin is revered in Georgia, but that is a country with very few famous natives, unlike Austria,

      • Tamara Mamaladze says:

        Dear Mike I disagree: Firstly if you have some individuals in Georgia, who consider Stalin a hero due to extensive Soviet propaganda, one can not attribute that attitude whole nation. It could sound more like an insult to the nation, which suffered the most horrific punishments of Stalin’s regime.
        Secondly Stalin is definitely revered much more in today’s Russia, which, against your argument, has produced many famous names.
        Thirdly let me introduce you to
        some internationaly famous Georgians, limiting purely with musical sphere: Alexander Borodin was illegitimate sun of Georgian nobleman Luka Gedevanishvili, to avoid scandal future composer was registered under Luka’s servants name.
        George Balanchne, the most influential choreographer on 20th century, his original name is Georgy Balanchivadze. Just to name few
        Contemporary international stars Violinist Lisa Batiashvili, Pianist Khatia Buniatishvili, Mezzo soprano Anita Rachvelishvili, soprano Tamar Iveri. List list is goes on.
        Hence your statement is groundless

  • Jeff says:

    Why not?

    Hitler was the most important personality of the 20th century.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    It is definitely lamentable that Mr. Hitler did not follow an artistic path in his life.

  • Larry L. Lash / Vienna says:

    “Wieland der Schmied” was one of Wagner’s abandoned projects. Maybe Hitler was trying to pick up where Wagner left off.

  • SVM says:

    Because there are still some who labour under the misconception that a person with any artistic inclination cannot be a bad person.

    • BrianB says:

      The (in)famous case of Gesualdo who was a murderer.

      • John Borstlap says:

        Gesualdo murdered his wife and her lover in an insane fit of passionate jealousy, after which he suffered from pulverizing guilt for the rest of his life. His painful chromatic works were a form of atonement. So, he was not simply ‘a murderer’.

  • CYM says:

    If Hitler had a better piano and composition teacher, the world would have been a much better place

    • John Borstlap says:

      Which shows again how important music education is, in the context of society.

      Thinking this through, the EU should send an army of piano teachers to Syria and Afghanistan, to deflect local aggression.

  • Save the MET says:

    There is a reason this exhibit is not in Vienna and instead in Lower Austria where there is a smaller Jewish population. Really unnecessary to mount any Hitler exhibit. Trying to understand his psychological state is a waste of everyone’s time. He’s dead, he was a mass murderer and he lost the war, may we never see his like again. Austria still has more than a tinge of Antisemitism running through its’ veins and unlike Germany really has never come to the same moment of contrition for the despicable acts they imposed upon their citizens in concert with Germany. Less press coverage of this misguided adventure means less people will see it.

    • SVM says:

      The history of human societies is replete with examples of individuals who have managed to amass enormous power and exercise it in an abusive way that sometimes results in genocide. Many people waste a lot of time and ink arguing over the appropriateness of comparing other genocides to those which took place in Nazi Germany (and the territories it invaded). Many people like to imagine that Hitler was uniquely evil and that all the more recent cases of genocide have nothing in common with the Nazi genocides. Unfortunately, such arguments miss the point and do nothing to advance the cause of preventing future genocide.

      Genocide and tyranny still blight the world today, and some of it is inspired by or related to the twisted ideologies manifested in Nazi Germany. “Trying to understand his [Hitler’s] psychological state” is a very distasteful undertaking, but we cannot pretend it is a “waste of everybody’s time”. Having said that, it is incumbent that such undertakings take great care not to glorify the horrific ideology and actions of the Nazis.

      • John Borstlap says:


        One merely has to think of the unspeakable genocides being committed in history to conclude that insanity is a virus laying dormant in every period and in every culture – the Reconquista in Spain which drove thousands of people into the sea, the murderous and pathological inquisition, the medieval bishop who, at the head of his army, ordered murder of every inhabitant of a conquered city where he had suspected heretics (‘Kill them all, God will know which ones will go to heaven’), etc. etc.

        • John Borstlap says:


          On reflection: the uniqueness of the holocaust is that it was carried-out in modern times, after a great upsurge of civilizational progress in European society which suggested that the barbarious, wild murder instincts were getting tamed. And indeed they were: in the sense that genocide was carried-out perfectly modern with technical efficiency. THAT is the immense contradiction and in that sense, unique.

  • Martin Spencer says:

    Because the past echoes into the future.
    I’m reading a new Hitler bio, and there are disturbing similarities to what is happening in the US at present. We need to remind ourselves that Hitler’s hate was not a closed episode.
    Understanding the demigod might help to defuse him.

    • BrianB says:

      True. Bernie campaign officials and supporters whom he has never fired or disavowed want to set up re-education camps and guillotines in public squares.

  • BrianB says:

    WWV 82 is prose drafts by Wagner for Wieland der Schmied. Are you sure this is Hitler at all?