2021 journal article
On the Politics of Performing Wagner Outdoors: Open-Air Opera, Gesamtkunstwerk and the Third Reich’s ‘Forest Opera’, 1933–45
Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 146(1), 147–180.
Abstract This article explores the politics of performing Wagner outdoors, focusing on the Waldoper in Sopot, Poland, and its operations under the Third Reich. Festival literature suggests that the Reich combined climatic deterministic logic with established open-air theatrical practice to implicate experiencing Wagnerian sounds outdoors as inculcating völkisch character in Poles, positioning the festival within the Reich’s imperial mission. However, this vision from ‘on high’ was undermined by bureaucratic disorganization and inefficiency, much like other Nazi artistic projects. The article concludes with a discussion of the post-war afterlives of the Waldoper and its attendant mythologies.