Merkel criticises cancellation of anti-religion opera

27th September 2006, Comments 0 comments

27 September 2006, HANOVER, GERMANY - German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticised Wednesday a Berlin opera house for cancelling a provocative production in which the hero is shown laughing at the severed heads of the Prophet Mohammed and Jesus Christ. Deutsche Oper Berlin had announced Monday it was dropping the opera, Idomeneo, for fear the theatre would be attacked by outraged Muslims. But Merkel assailed that decision as "self-censorship." "We should watch out that we don't keep retreating for fear of ra

27 September 2006

HANOVER, GERMANY - German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticised Wednesday a Berlin opera house for cancelling a provocative production in which the hero is shown laughing at the severed heads of the Prophet Mohammed and Jesus Christ.

Deutsche Oper Berlin had announced Monday it was dropping the opera, Idomeneo, for fear the theatre would be attacked by outraged Muslims. But Merkel assailed that decision as "self-censorship."

"We should watch out that we don't keep retreating for fear of radicals willing to employ violence," she told a newspaper, the Neue Presse published in the northern city of Hanover. "Self-censorship based on fear is insupportable."

Merkel, who is a keen opera-goer, said, "You should only limit yourself out of a sense of responsibility arising from a genuine, absolutely non-violent dialogue between cultures."

There has been fierce criticism among German intellectuals of the decision by opera head Kirsten Harms to cancel the show, Idomeneo.

The original text, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, makes no reference to Islam or other religions, but director Hans Neuenfels created bloodied, decapitated heads of the Prophet Mohammed, Jesus Christ and the Buddha as props to be laughed at by the hero in the final scene.

At the premiere in 2003, reviewers said Neuenfels was expressing his opposition to modern religions. The opera house had earlier planned to revive the show for four performances this November.

DPA

Subject: German news

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