Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

Nazi-themed Wagner opera cancelled

Elena Zhidkova as Venus in a scene from the controversial production of Tannhauser (AP/Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Hans Joerg Michel)

A modern version of Richard Wagner's opera Tannhauser has been cancelled in Germany after the opening-night audience complained about new scenes showing Jews being executed and dying in the gas chambers.

A spokeswoman for Duesseldorf's opera house said there would only be concert performances without theatrical staging.

Monika Doll said producer Burkhard Kosminski had refused to tone down the disputed scenes, even though the Holocaust-related parts prompted several in the audience on Saturday to seek medical attention.

Wagner remains a controversial figure in Germany because of his anti-Semitic views. Adolf Hitler was an admirer, and playing Wagner's music is still considered a taboo in Israel.

Tannhauser was first performed in Dresden in 1845.

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