Wagner opera rapped for Nazi atrocities in staging

Production of Tannhauser in Dusseldorf draws criticism for scenes featuring gas chambers, Hitler salute, swastika armband.

May 8, 2013 06:28
1 minute read.
Deutsche Oper am Rhein production of Richard Wagner's "Tannhauser" at the Dusseldorf Opera House.

Wagner's Tannhauser opera 370. (photo credit: Hans Jörg Michel)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


BERLIN - A new production of Richard Wagner's Tannhauser opera in Dusseldorf has drawn criticism for staging Nazi atrocities.

The opera company apparently is considering modifications, according to reports.

At performances over the weekend by the Deutsche Oper am Rhein company at the Dusseldorf Opera House, the audience reacted negatively to 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. There reportedly is no music accompanying the scene.

Burkhard Kosminski, the opera company's director, added the scenes that have drawn criticism.

Israel's ambassador to Germany reportedly has voiced displeasure, and some left the theater "bathed in sweat," according to a report in the online edition of the local Rheinische Post.

Oded Horowitz, head of the Jewish community of North Rhine, said in the Rheinische Post's Tuesday edition that "survivors are likely to find the provocative handling of Nazi history in this Tannhauser production quite painful." While remembrance of Nazi crimes is important, he said, "a theater scandal is not our preferred form of confronting the past."

Many eschew Wagner's music because of the admiration that Hitler held for Wagner as well as the composer's alleged anti-Semitism.

Last July, Russian opera singer Evgeny Nikitin was pressured to withdraw from Germany's famous Bayreuth Opera Festival because of Nazi tattoos on his chest and arm. He was supposed to sing the lead in The Flying Dutchman.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Joan Rivers
August 28, 2014
Joan Rivers rushed to hospital following throat surgery