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© 2019 Brian Coffill 

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Wagner in Baltimore

February 6, 2017

While out running this weekend, I happened upon a bust of Richard Wagner in Baltimore's Druid Hill Park. While the park is scattered with statues (including a particularly fiery William Wallace), and I have run there quite often, I was surprised to see the Old Sorcerer staring at me across a large field.

Wagner's bust reads:

First Prize Awarded to The United Singers of Baltimore at the 19th Nat'l Saengerfest Brooklyn N.Y. 1900.

Presented to the City of Baltimore.

 

According to Allyson Schuele, in a post on the "Explore Baltimore Heritage Blog," the United Singers of Baltimore won a singing competition in New York with their performance of D. Melamet’s “Scheiden” (“Parting”), and over 30,000 spectators were present for the unveiling of the statue on October 6, 1901. A second bust, of composer Conradin Keutzer, won in 1915, sits in Patterson Park on the East Side of town. With a large German expatriate community living in Baltimore in the early 1900s, these monuments, and singing societies, must have been a source of pride for the German immigrant community. One wonders if Wagner has been serenaded, perhaps by those Meistersingers.

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