Walter Mencken 2:02 p.m., June 25
As mentioned, Herbert von Karajan was an Austrian conductor who joined the Nazi Party.
In the early 1900’s, Georg von Schonerer and Karl Lueger were two politicians who were willing to manipulate anti-Semitism for their own gain.
Of the two, Schonerer was the true believer. He was not only anti-Semitic, he was also anti-Slavic and anti-Catholic. His extreme views ended up alienating him from the more subtle politicians who shared some of his views.
Schonerer’s views and policies are said to have been influential upon Hitler and the Nazi Party.
Karl Lueger was the founder of the Christian Social Party and learned early on that he could garner attention by addressing, “The Jewish Question.”
Lueger was not a rabid anti-Semite but he did use the rhetoric to gain votes. Ultimately Lueger became the mayor of Vienna.
Why talk about the politics of early 20th Century Vienna? I bring it up to add balance to the general perception of Vienna. It was a city full of strife and conflict. . The topic I want to explore is the relationship between a Viennese playwright and a German composer.
The writer was Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the composer was Richard Strauss.
Both men were tremendous artists who wrote in a time of political, social, and economic unrest.
One of their collaborations, Der Rosenkavalier, opens at the Civic Theater on Sunday April, 3rd.
Der Rosenkavalier is set in the 18th century Vienna of Mozart and Maria Therese. It harkens back to what could be called a simpler time for Vienna.
Next post, we’ll get into Der Rosenkavalier, and von Hofmannsthal.