Tuesday, September 26, 2006


A Berlin opera house recently cancelled a production of Mozart's "Idomeneo", originally mounted in 2003 and scheduled for their 2006-2007 season, after being warned by security officials there that a particular scene posed certain risks to both the public and employees and recommended that they either cut the scene or cancel the production. Though they were not ordered to do either, per se, the company decided to cancel the production after the director and other artists involved refused to cut the scene. The scene in question, which is part of director Hans Neufels staging and not the original, has King Idomeneo presenting the severed heads of Poseidon, Mohammed, Jesus and the Buddha.

Can you guess which religion precipated the decision to cancel? Berlin security officials felt that in light of the reaction (over-reaction in my mind) to the Danish cartoons they did not wish to risk fanning the flames once again. And we know how easily that can happen!

Frankly anyone's severed head, and particularly those of religious figures, is rather offensive, but I will always defend the right to free speech.

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