מרגרט סטרוטר

אוצר: גידי סמילנסקי

09.03.2007 - 08.02.2007


When I first arrived in Israel, I could see from my window, what were then the twin towers of Azrieli, glowing in the night. It was a beautiful vision, reminded me of home. That was August 2001. In September, the view from my window began to fill me with dread. 
The soundtrack was Wagner:  I started listening to Götterdämmerung, day and night. It fit with the images unfolding around me, the twilight of the gods, evil versus hubris. 

In Götterdämmerung ("The Twilight of the Gods"), the dark-toned finale of Richard Wagner's four Ring Cycle operas, the Gods and Dwarves destroy one another, leaving humans to walk the earth alone. Wagner conceived the Ring Cycle as a Socialist reading of Aeschylus's Orestian Trilogy: he hoped to tap into folk mythology as into a kind of collective unconscious, with the aim of national regeneration. He imagined his Ring Cycle being performed in free, public venues, like the ancient Greeks; a cultural-religious rite accessible to all. 

It took Wagner thirty years to complete the cycle; by the time he was able to produce the operas publicly, his politics had changed. No longer a communist, Wagner's sympathies now lay more with the doomed God and Dwarves, less with the common man who survives the opera's final. Wagner's conflicted affinities are evident, as Siegfried, ostensibly the cycle's hero, evolves into an aimless bully. He falls in with bad company, drinks a potion, behaves dishonorably. Fifty years after Wagner's death, the Nazis tried to adopt the best of Siegfried as a role model, but had they read beneath the surface, they could have seen where it would lead.

Wagner’s Siegfried may be good-hearted, but with his violent streak, he is easily made into a tool of destruction by sinister forces. Violence, Wagner shows, is abstract: it can be tapped for good or evil. But it is much easier to tap it for evil. It goes fast – in a heartbeat. 
In my five years in Israel, I have seen that fatal heartbeat repeated again and again.