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On-Site Film & Discussion: “You Will Not Play Wagner”

June 18, 2023 | 2:30pm CST

9603 Woods Drive, Skokie, IL 60077

Since the creation of the modern-day State of Israel, Richard Wagner’s music has been unofficially banned in the country, on the grounds that the German composer was promoted during the Nazi era as Hitler’s favorite composer. But can Wagner’s music transcend the antisemitic views of its creator?

You Will Not Play Wagner, a film adaptation of the play by South African Jewish playwright Victor Gordon, presents the story of a young Israeli conductor, Ya’akov, who chooses to perform Wagner in the final concert of a prestigious musical competition. A patron of the competition, Esther, a Jewish Holocaust Survivor who lives in America, resolutely stands against the idea, leading to an international conflict of interest behind the scenes.

Buried memories and nightmarish dreams are uncovered as Ya’akov and Esther, facilitated over Zoom by the competition organizer, Morris, passionately argue their opposing points of view from Tel-Aviv, the Berkshires, and Brooklyn. Their arguments push the competition to the brink: Should Ya’akov conduct Wagner? Should the politics of the composer interfere with the quality of his art? To what extent do we honor the memory of the Holocaust, its survivors and their descendants, without stifling the next generation? And would a Jewish Israeli conducting Wagner be treachery or triumph?

Immediately following the film, join us in conversation with You Will Not Play Wagner‘s director, Lilia Levitina.

Please call 847.763.3507 for assistance.

Clicking the link below will redirect you to the JCC Jewish Film Festival website for registration.

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