‘Nazi-Themed’ Opera Causes Stir In Germany

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An adaptation of Tannhauser - Richard Wagner's famous opera – is causing controversy in Germany due to it’s supposed Nazi themes. The people dying in gas chambers and members of a family having their heads shaved before being executed in particular have offended people.

The original Tannhauser opera is set in the Middle Ages and was first performed in Dresden in 1845 where it failde to recieved the acclaim of some of Wagner's previous works. Again, the latest rendition has failed to inspire many. "Members of the audience booed and banged the doors when they left the opera house in protest before the end of the show," the head of the city's Jewish community told The Associated Press on Tuesday (May 7). Michael Szentei-Heise called the adaptation at the city's Deutsche Oper-am-Rhein "tasteless and not legitimate." The director, Christoph Meyer, said in a statement that the opera company never wanted to hurt the feelings of the viewers. "This is not about mocking the victims, but mourning them," he explained. Szentei-Heise, the Jewish community leader, expressed his feelings on the inclusion of the Holocaust scene, but didn’t completely condemn the production. "This opera has nothing to do with the Holocaust," Szentei-Heise said. "However, I think the audience has made this very clear to the opera and the producer."

Wagner, who was an ardent anti-Semite and a personal favourite of Adolf Hitler, remains a controversial figure in Germany and elsewhere despite it being 130 years after his death. The playing Wagner's music is still considered a taboo in Israel.


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