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November 1, 2014 / 8 Heshvan, 5775
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Wagner Opera Staged with Nazi Atrocities Booed off the Stage

The audience that attended a new production of a Wagner opera, complete with acts of Nazi atrocities, should have been Holocaust deniers. But it’s too late now. The production was yanked off stage.
A scene from Wagner's Tannehaus opera production, staged in a concenration camp complete with Nazi atrocities acted out

A scene from Wagner's Tannehaus opera production, staged in a concenration camp complete with Nazi atrocities acted out

A new and bizarre production of Richard Wagner’s “Tannhauser” opera in Dusseldorf, which drew harsh criticism for staging Nazi atrocities, has been cancelled after less than a week.

At opening performances by the Deutsche Oper am Rhein company at the Dusseldorf Opera House over the weekend, the audience booed after witnessing scenes featuring the gassing of concentration camp prisoners, and the banned Hitler salute and swastika armband.

In one scene, a mother, father and daughter are led up by members of the Wehrmacht; their clothes are removed and they are shaved, and shot.

The audience was so shocked that some people sought medical help afterwards.

The music and text by Richard Wagner, whose music was a favorite of Hitler, is based on the two German legends of Tannhäuser and the song contest at Wartburg. The opera usually is et in medieval Germany,

The performances “clearly affected numerous audience members so strongly both psychologically and physically that they had to seek medical help afterward,” according to a statement from Deutsche Oper am Rhein.

The Jewish community called the production “tasteless” and violent protests preceded the opening show.

The opera company had considered making changes to the staging, set in a Nazi concentration camp during the Holocaust, but the opera company’s director Burkhard Kosminski refused to make any changes for artistic reasons.

“After considering all the arguments, we have come to the conclusion that we cannot justify such an extreme impact of our artistic work,” said the Deutsche Oper am Rhein company said in a statement.

The production has been cancelled, though concert performances are still scheduled.

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


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4 Responses to “Wagner Opera Staged with Nazi Atrocities Booed off the Stage”

  1. Andrea Eller says:

    Figures. Kosminski: A Pole right in there with the cultured, artistic, sophisticated Germans of WWII.

  2. Franklyn Arnevet says:

    Half a story. WHO made up the audience? WHY were they sickened? Germans because of the horror they committed? Jews because they want to bury their heads – and history – again? There is much more to the story than Mr. Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu is presenting here.

  3. Grace Acosta says:

    Someone's been watching too many reruns of "The Producers". I'm surprised they didn't sing "Springtime for Hitler".

  4. Cody Flecker says:

    Richard Wagner is bar far the best composer the world has ever listened to. Gustav Mahler loved to conduct Wagner's opera. It is good that the people of Germany can be open about their former Nazi past and see productions be it in an opera. or a play about their former lives in Nazism. Would you rather not educate the population and hide the fact that Germany was responsible for the killing of 6 million Jews and millions of others? Someone mentioned The Producers. This play and movie was produced and directed and acted all by Jews. Everyone laughed when the swastika and arm bands were shown on Broadway as well as saluting Nazi style. So why all of the fuss here? How hypocritical.

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