Wagner's Rienzi didn'tr seem to go down too well in New York. Was it the performance? The audience (many of whom weren't specialists)? Or was it the work itself? John Yohalem writes in Opera Today "For the first hour or so of the latest Opera Orchestra of New York venture, a concert performance of Wagner’s Rienzi, I often said to myself, This…isn’t so terrible." . More HERE. (also read about a more successful Deutsche-Oper, Berlin production HERE) That was a superb performance -Torsten Kerl, Camilla Nylund and strong cast. The production was Philip Stölzl - exceptional insights that lift the impact of the opera. It's been 20 plus years since I've read John Deathridge's book on Rienzi and can't remember much, but the Berlin production takes the opera on its own merits and turns it into good theatre. Ultimately, that's what really counts, not what cuts are made etc (most people wouldn't know anyway). For Wagner this was early srteps, and for thatb reason, Rienzi is worthwhil ebecause it shows how his mind, even at this stage is working on ideas that would develop more tightly later. The significance is that he's dealing with Italianate ideas, though many times removed from source. The text was Bulwer Lytton, not authentic Italian, and it's nonsense that Rienzi is "Nazi".