Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Opera Canceled Over a Depiction of Muhammad

NYT A leading German opera house has canceled performances of a Mozart opera because of security fears stirred by a scene that depicts the severed head of the Prophet Muhammad, prompting a storm of protest here about what many see as the surrender of artistic freedom.

What the NYT waits until the seventh paragraph to admit is that the Opera involves the severed heads of Muhammad, Jesus, Buddha and Poseidon. The opera was written by Mozart in 1780, and it was on TV in 1983, and no one was worried about threats by Christians or Buddhists (or anyone still worshiping Poseidon), but nutcase Muslims were not so sensitive of criticism of their Prophet that they did not threaten violence then. A true Muslim would know that such a secular presentation did not really wound his faith, just as a true Christian knows that Christ is still Christ, irrespective of what some secular artist depicts. This does not mean I am happy about this Opera, any more than I have been happy with some of the other insulting artwork that has been created over the past years. I just know that Chist is above all of it. After all, He died on the cross, in a very painful method, that I might have Eternal Life. Secularists may try to demean Him, but they will not be joining me in meeting Christ in Heaven. And the nutcases that have hijacked the Muslim faith will not be there either, although I am sure many true Muslims will be.
The Deutsche Oper Berlin said Tuesday that it had pulled “Idomeneo” from its fall schedule after the police warned of an “incalculable risk” to the performers and the audience.

1 comment:

Josh in Berlin said...

It seems that the cancellation will be revoked and this opera will be shown after all. What a great and shrewd 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.

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"."

"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.""

When Corpus Christi was shown in Germany in 2000, there have been death threats and bomb threats as well:

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