Defending the 12th century since the 14th; blogging since the 21st.

Catholicism, Conservatism, the Middle Ages, Opera, and Historical and Literary Objets d'Art blogged by a suburban dad who teaches law and writes stuff.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Mozart Opera Canceled for Muhammad Scene

A leading opera house in Berlin, Germany canceled a 3-year-old production of Mozart's "Idomeneo" that included a scene showing the severed head of the Prophet Muhammad, unleashing a furious debate over free speech.

In a statement late Monday, the Deutsche Oper said it decided "with great regret" to cancel the production of the 225-year-old opera after Berlin security officials warned of an "incalculable risk" stemming from the scene.

After its premiere in 2003, the production by Hans Neuenfels drew widespread criticism over the scene in which King Idomeneo presents the severed heads not only of the Greek god of the sea, Poseidon, but also of Muhammad, Jesus and Buddha.
Yes, I noticed it too: among the "heads" arbitrarily added to this opera, by yet another hotdogging Eurotrash director, was that of Jesus as well as Muhammad. But that only drew "widespread criticism," which is what Eurotrash productions are meant to do. But throw in Muhammad, and that's, you know, different.

"A furious debate over free speech?" You mean, over whether or not it would be a good idea? Because it seems that's all the Deutsche Oper has left itself to debate about.

UPDATE: Deutsche Oper reverses decision; cojones on loan from new German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who btw was also the first European leader to defend the Holy Father over the Regensburg speech. (Hat tip: The Rat.)