Herbert von Karajan
Bumbry/Vickers (Carmen), Anne-Sophie Mutter. 80m. B&W/Color.
NTSC VHS ONLY.
This documentary is not afraid to be detailed about musical interpretation but does pull punches with regard to Karajan’s involvement with the Nazis, nor does it mention his bisexuality. The program is packed with information and analysis as well as clips from many sources (including footage that is very expensive to license).
Commentator Dr. Oliver Rathkolb says that Karajan was unaware of having made propaganda for the regime. That is hardly possible, given that his conducting of the Meistersinger “Prelude” in occupied Paris, in 1941, on the heels of the invasion, was memorialized in a newsreel, part of which is included here. (The version in #52, Great Conductors of the Third Reich, also shows panzers parading down the Champs Elysées juxtaposed with the Meistersinger “Prelude.”) Still, those interested in #52 should check out this video.
I pressed rewind again and again.–Stefan Zucker