Wagner popularity went through the ring cycle in Nazi era

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ACCORDING to popular belief, Nazi-era Germans flooded opera houses to be enthralled by Rhinemaidens and Valkyries.

But Richard Wagner, far from being the Third Reich's "house composer", actually became much less popular during Adolf Hitler's rule, according to new research.

Germans were much more keen on Carmen, Bizet's tale of a soldier's scandalous obsession with a Gypsy, and on Madama Butterfly, Puccini's opera about an officer's doomed liaison with a Japanese courtesan — neither particularly appropriate tales by the standards of Nazi ideology.

According to Jonathan Carr, author of the book The Wagner Clan, Hitler was obsessed by "the Master", but the party faithful were not and attended performances at Hitler's insistence.

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