[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K08akOt2kuo’]Last Saturday the Düsseldorf opera house opened a new version of Tannhäuser. But this wasn’t any old version of the classic Wagner opera: the director transposed its setting from the Middle Ages to 1940s Germany. The Nazi-themed version, according to The Guardian, contained scenes of rape and showed people dying in gas chambers. The opera has now been pulled, but damage has already been done:
The opening scene depicted singers inside glass containers dropping to the floor as they were enveloped in a white fog – a clear allusion to the gas chambers that killed millions in Nazi death camps. Another scene that caused some in the audience to gasp and cover their faces showed an entire family having their heads shaved before being shot dead by the SS.Michael Szentei-Heise, the head of Düsseldorf’s Jewish community, reported that members of the audience had “booed and banged doors” as they left the performance before the end.
We’re not sure why nobody realized this was a bad idea before committing to the huge cost of an opera production; it’s hard to imagine just how much stupidity was required to make this happen. Maybe they thought because it worked in The Producers, it would work for them?