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Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, Members of the Press,

We are pleased to invite you to the press conference for the upcoming DHM exhibition Richard Wagner and the Nationalization of Feeling on Wednesday, 6 April 2022 at 11 am in the Zeughauskino of the Deutsches Historisches Museum. Pre-viewing of the exhibition before the press conference begins at 10 am in the Pei Building (basement floor).

Composer and theatre reformer, court music director and festival founder, revolutionary and exile, entrepreneur and capitalism critic, debtor and anti-Semite: Richard Wagner made his mark in many different positions and strongly influenced the 19th century – with ramifications that still affect us today. The Deutsches Historisches Museum shows Wagner not only as witness and critic of the political and social upheavals of his time, but in particular as a controversial artist who knew how to integrate societal sensitivities strategically into his works and stage them as the essence of “Germanity”. The debates about the degree to which Wagner’s pronounced anti-Semitism shaped his works and his criticism of Modernity still go on today.

In this year the Deutsches Historisches Museum has been occupied with the history of capitalism. Two German protagonists of the 19th century are central to this discussion: Karl Marx and Richard Wagner. Like Marx, Richard Wagner was also a critic of the modern economy. At the same time, Wagner’s rise would hardly have been possible without the development of a modern capitalist art and music market. He was an extremely successful technician of feelings who was able to re-position the social value of art and the artist in the increasingly commercialised world. To this end he developed marketing strategies in which emotions played an essential role. His ideas of music drama as a Gesamtkunstwerk were directly related to his criticism of Modernity and thus marked by the aspiration to change society as a whole. Starting with the strong polarisation that Wagner still triggers, the exhibition focuses on the relationship between his life and work and the movements and sentiments of his time. Four basic feelings of the 19th century form the centre of the exhibition. They were driving forces for the circumstances of the time and for Wagner’s ideas: Alienation and Belonging, Eros and Disgust. In four chapters based on these feelings, plus an epilogue on Wagner’s impact and reception, the exhibition looks into the question of how Wagner perceived these emotional conditions in society and how he reacted to them artistically.

Speaking at the press conference will be Raphael Gross, President of the Deutsches Historisches Museum, Michael P. Steinberg, curator of the exhibition, and Philipp Springer, head of the exhibition project.

Please pay attention to the following guidelines and the registration form:

  • The press meeting takes place only within the time slot of 10 am (beginning of accreditation) to 2 pm.
  • A binding registration is obligatory. Non-accredited persons can only be permitted to attend if the respective capacity is available.
  • Individual interviews/shootings are subsequently possible after prior application. Safe distancing of 1.5 m must be maintained. Radio and TV teams should use a stem microphone or boom pole.
  • 3G rules plus mandatory FFP2 mask apply: Participation is currently possible only with proof of complete Covid-19 vaccination, or recovery, or a current daily negative rapid test as well as photo ID. Exceptions are persons with certification that they cannot be vaccinated; they must provide a negative test result. All certifications must be shown upon entering the building. Masks must be worn during the press conference.
  • Please observe the current rules for safe distancing and hygiene in the entire DHM building complex and exhibition rooms according to the SARS-CoV-2 ordinance enacted by the Land Berlin: https://www.dhm.de/en/visit/your-visit/

Please send personal accreditation requests at the latest by 5 pm on Tuesday, 5 April 2022, to: https://www.dhm.de/en/accreditation-for-the-press-conference-wagner/