Lyric Opera says its current production of Richard Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nurnbergis a “heartwarming comedy” with a message about the important role of art in a community.

The message part is right on.

Meistersinger, also known as “Hitler’s favorite opera,” was theme music for Nazi Germany, performed on official occasions including the founding of the Third Reich. It was also part of the score for Leni Riefenstahl’s Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will.

Of course, Meistersinger premiered in 1868, and Wagner died in 1883.

That could make Hitler’s appropriation of it a half century later irrelevant to any performance now.

Except that Wagner (1) used the opera to make an argument for an ethnically pure German art (and state) and (2) was a raving anti-Semite himself.