Fifty years after his death, Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957) remains a legendary figures of conducting. For the Italian Maestro, Wagner always held a special status: he inaugurated his first appointment at La Scala in 1898 with Die Meistersinger and made his final public appearance in 1954 with an all-Wagner program. The anti-fascist conductor’s affinity for this music was such that he was even asked by Hitler to the lead the Bayreuth Festival, founded by Wagner himself. Toscanini promptly refused and never returned to the Festival, illustrating one of his mottos: "Be democrats in life but aristocrats in art”. This programme gathers the best of Toscanini’s Wagner performances filmed by NBC television between 1948 and 1951 with restored sound and image. The concert is preceded by a short presentation of Toscanini and his relationship to Wagner.
Wagner: Overture to “Tannhäuser” ; Prelude to Act III of Lohengrin Prelude; Liebestod from “Tristan and Isolde” ; The Ride of the Valkyries from Act III of “Die Walküre”