Germans, Jews, and Czechs in Mahler’s Vienna
The epilogue, set in 1897 with Gustav Mahler’s return to Vienna as the head of the Court Opera, brings all the themes of the book together. Political context is provided by the Cilli Crisis and the Badeni Language decrees, both of which led many Germans to fight vociferously to protect their “national property.” The concept of national property is extended to apply to Vienna’s venues for operatic and concert performances. By the time Mahler led the Viennese première of Smetana’s Dalibor, even the radical German nationalists, who had once extolled the composer as a model for German composers to follow, were critical of giving the Court Opera, as German national property, over to the music of a “foreigner.”
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