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Wednesday, 30 May, 2001, 17:13 GMT 18:13 UK
Israeli arts festival drops Wagner
The conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Daniel Barenboim, has decided not to go ahead with a performance of an opera by the German composer Richard Wagner at an Israeli arts festival next month.

The proposal provoked controversy because Richard Wagner was Adolf Hitler's favourite composer and is considered by many Israelis to have been anti-semitic.

Mr Barenboim - who is himself an Israeli citizen - said he didn't want to fight like a missionary for Wagner in Israel, although he repeated his conviction that no-one should be allowed to ban people from listening to the composer.

The festival organisers asked Mr Barenboim to drop the Wagner after prominent Israeli politicians - as well as survivors of the Holocaust - condemned the planned performance.

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