28 September 2006

Different Takes on the Same Tale

Michelle Malkin comments on Deustche Oper's cancelled production of Mozart's Idomeneo.

Victoria comments as well (and comments very well indeed).

Searching about using tools like Tailrank, Technorati and Google Blogsearch it would seem that the political response to this has been almost exclusively from the right of center blogs.

The consensus from opera and culture blogs (as exemplified by New Criterion editor Roger Kimball) would seem to be that the director of this opera, Hans Neuenfels, is an idiot. He has been hacking away at classic operas for years, and if he were to be figuratively beheaded as to never be allowed to commit his churlish and asinine productions ever again, that wouldn't be a bad thing (please note that I said figurative)

It should be noted that this production premiered in 2003 and presumably went off without leading to actual beheadings.

I think Prof. Althouse's take on the matter is worth noting, too
This is a complex problem. Neuenfels's production takes the easy faux-daring route of "Piss Christ" and the Madonna crucifixion, but at least he had the nerve to hit all religions equality, and not to single out one religion. Perhaps he did that because it wouldn't have made any sense to go after the conventional target of Christianity when it's an opera about the Trojan War. It doesn't make all that much sense to drag Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad into that setting either, but bringing them all in to join their super best friend Poseidon made some kind of crazy sense.

Now that some Muslims have made it painfully obvious that religion-taunting is not an easy game anymore, abandoning it expresses fear, not respect for religion. And continuing to disrespect the religions that don't lash back only highlights that cowardice. Poor transgressive rebel artists! How are they to shock the middle class anymore?

I searched long and hard for an actual liberal site that mentioned this and found this bit of wisdom from Mahablog
Today there’s some grumbling on the blogosphere about “political correctness” and how “artistic freedom” is being sacrificed to placate Muslims. To which I say, try performing this critter in the Bible Belt. As soon as the Holy Rollers hear about Jesus’s severed head the opera house is as good as vandalized, if not torched. And every Mozart CD in Alabama — all six of ‘em — would be tossed on a bonfire, along with video cassettes and DVDs of “Amadeus.”

Yeah, sure, whatever you say, nothing offensive to Christians has ever been staged in a college town deep in the bible belt.

Crazed Islamo-Fascists intent on killing or converting all unlike themselves aren't the problem, it's those Christians who are ruining the world.

2 comments:

Joerg said...

It seems that the cancellation will be revoked and this opera will be shown after all. What a clever publicity stunt the opera house made by first announcing the cancellation. Usually hardly anybody would be interested in that opera, but now it is the talk of the town. That's the way to go to get folks into the opera and make money. Just hype up some threat and pretend to cancel something because of it.

I think I am in a very small minority in Germany who approved of the cancellation. That opera is an insult to other religions (since it shows the severed heads of Jesus and Buddha as well) and to Mozart, the composer, himself.

What benefit would we get if we had this opera? It seems the only reason to defend this stupid opera is to avoid giving the impression of appeasement to the Islamofascists. That's not enough for me. I think this opera would only strengthen Islamofasicsm since it would help their propaganda. To win the war on terrorism, we need to have moderate Muslims on our side, so that they don't support the terrorists, but give us information about them. And we want the moderate Muslims to win over their autocratic governments and fundamentalist groups in the Arab world. This opera, however, alienates the moderate Muslims and helps the fundamentalists.

Let's not forget that theater plays critical of Christians and Israel also get canceled. Earlier this year:
"A New York theatre company has put off plans to stage a play about an American activist killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza because of the current "political climate" - a decision the play's British director, Alan Rickman, denounced as "censorship"."
http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/theatre-gets-stagefright-over-play-on-israeli-death-of-activist/2006/02/28/1141095740986.html

I am not a fan of Rachel Corrie. Not at all. However, if one criticizes the canellation of the Mozart opera for fear of offending Muslimes, then one should also criticize the canceling of that play for fear of offending supporters of Israel..

Besides:
"On May 23, 1998, the New York Times announced that the Manhattan Theatre Club would be canceling its scheduled production of playwright Terrence McNally's newest play, Corpus Christi, due to bomb and death threats made against the theatre, its personnel, and the playwright. The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights disavowed responsibility for the threats but did publicly applaud the decision, calling the play "blasphemous.""
http://muse.jhu.edu/cgi-bin/access.cgi?uri=/journals/theatre_journal/v051/51.2pr_mcnally.html

When Corpus Christi was shown in Germany in 2000, there have been death threats and bomb threats as well:
http://www.cityinfonetz.de/tagblatt/thema/thema39/

Thus it could very well be that the threats against the "Idomeneo" opera are not only coming from Muslims, but from Christians, who don't like to see the severed head of Jesus... Having said that: The concern about attacks from Muslims is bigger.

Greetings from Berlin,
My blog: The Atlantic Review, A press digest on transatlantic affairs edited by three German Fulbright Alumni

XWL said...

Your moral equivalency argument fails one important test.

Death threats issued by those offended by anti-Christian or anti-Israeli works of art are few, far between and issued from the very darkest fringes.

Death threats against those perceived as insulting Islam are issued from Mosques, Parliamentary buildings, newspapers, well attended street protests, class rooms, need I go on?

Weakness in the face of tyranny only begets more tyranny.

Christ turned the other cheek, and he got crucified.

I'm not Christian, and the only cheek I'd turn would be my ass cheeks as I moon these sexually confused goatfuckers who think we need to plunge the world back to a medieval caliphate.

But thanks for your lengthy comment, even if you pulled most of it out of your moral equivalizing, appeasing ass.