The musical dramas of Richard Wagner, whose 200th birthday is being celebrated this year, are among the most popular works of classical music today. They are regularly staged at all the major opera houses, and tickets sell out fast.
Yet he remains a deeply problematic artist. For a great many people he and his music have become indelibly associated with anti-Semitism and Nazism. His works remain largely banned in Israel. Almost any documentary about Hitler and Nazi Germany will at some point mention Wagner as a cultural inspiration, and Hitler's devotion to the composer in particular.