Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Opera cancelled for fear of angering Buddhists, Christians...

Berlin's Deutsche Oper has cancelled performances of a production of Mozart's "Idomeneo" for fear of sparking rioting and terrorist violence among Christians, Buddhists, and pagan Greeks.
After its premiere in 2003, the production by Hans Neuenfels drew widespread criticism over a scene in which King Idomeneo presents the severed heads not only of the Greek god of the sea, Poseidon, but also of Mohammed, Jesus and Buddha.
Pat Robertson called for Neuenfels' head on a pike, while mobs of protesting Buddhists wore vests covered with mock sticks of dynamite and chanted "Guatama's will be done; Berlin will burn and drown in the blood of the infidels!" Pagan Greeks paraded with effigies of Poseidon's head and signs saying "Molon Labe!", ancient Greek for "Come and Take It!"

Or something like that.


The above is, of course, heavy handed sarcasm. Nobody has rioted over the heads of Poseidon, Jesus, or Buddha. Three guesses who got their knickers in a twist and caused the opera to be cancelled, and the first two guesses don't count.


infidelharlot said...

Allah and his followers are pretty sad and weak if they cry over a Mozart opera.

Tam said...


Mad props for a cool blog name! :)

Standard Mischief said...

Earlier today, about six or seven monks from a right-wing Buddhist faction had stormed the stage during a peace rally attended by about 1,000 people in the capital, Colombo, shouting pro-war slogans.

No, really. Pro-war Buddhist Monks.

I like this quote from Acidis-
... how does that work? "Fight this war now or we burn ourselves alive?

phlegmfatale said...

Having spent a sizeable chunk of my adult life training for an operatic career, I have to weigh in on this one. Considering much of the repertoire in the operatic canon is 100-300 years old, it's not at all surprising that the artistic directors of operas like to shake it up when they trot out the hackneyed old warhorses by tarting them up in drag. These outrages are aimed at keeping the audience awake.
Peter Sellars (not THE Peter Sellers) outraged the opera milieu in his 1990'ish interpretation of Don Giovanni in which the old cad is a drug-dealing street thug, and Donna Elvira sings her plaintive, tear-jerking aria whilst shooting up heroin, needle and all(and this is available on DVD, yet!). Let's not forget that one of the primary operas of the 20th century was Strauss' Salome, which involves a New Tesatment-era Paris Hilton prototype doing a bump-and-grind around the head of John the Baptist denuded of its trunk. Where, oh where the hue and cry over that one for the past 100 years? All that considered, the collection of chopped tops in the Idomeneo production still seems peculiarly non-sequitir for the love story of the libretto.

Opera, for pete's sake! The creative directors of opera houses pride themselves on being so clever, so very ahead of the curve that there is no way this controversy was unintentional. I wonder if this production wasn't simply planned as a loss-leader and never intended to be swanned out onto the boards before an audience? - the world hasn't changed THAT much in 3 years since the production was planned and designed. They knew what they were dealing with then, particularly considering what a huge Muslim populace has Berlin these days.

Pardon me, though, if I sit back and enjoy the crashing waves of irony when the libertine artistes of the operatic world are thwarted from presenting their "art" because of the very people around whom they have rallied in opposition to a "gay-hating" US president. Ironic because in an extremist Islamic culture, most of the people I know from the operatic realm would be publicly executed, including myself.

BTW , I LOVE your version of TNT-packing Buddhist monks and effigy-wielding Pagan Greeks. Wouldn't it be pretty to think so? Actually, what someone needs to do is take your news round-up of the protests of the opera and create a new operatic work, as rife as it is with imagery. Well done!

Sorry, I got myself monologing again. Forgive me?