Wall Street Opinion Journal Roger Kimball September 28, 2006
Mozart falls victim to fear of Muslim rage.
About the only thing less pleasing than having to sit through Hans Neuenfels’s production of Mozart’s 1781 opera “Idomeneo” is the news that Berlin’s Deutsche Oper, citing an “incalculable” security risk from enraged Muslims, has decided to cancel its scheduled showing of the piece.
Don’t get me wrong. I am certain that the production, which premiered in 2003, is a horror. In Mozart’s version, the opera, set on Crete in the aftermath of the Trojan War, is a play about sacrifice and reconciliation. The opera ends with King Idomeneo issuing a “last command. I announce peace,” before ceding power to his son.
Mr. Neuenfels’s version is Modern German–i.e., gratuitously offensive. It is more Neuenfels than Mozart. Instead of appearing as the harbinger of peace, Idomeneo ends the opera parading the severed heads of Poseidon, Jesus, Buddha and the Prophet Muhammad. How do you spell “anachronistic balderdash”?
Poor Mozart. Mr. Neuenfels is one of those directors more interested in nurturing his own pathologies than in offering a faithful presentation of the geniuses with whose work he has been entrusted.
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