12 People Sought Medical Treatment After "Nazi" Tannhauser. Director Claims Censorship

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday, 13 May 2013 | 9:19:00 am

"Why shouldn't we cast Tannhaeuser as a perpetrator, a war criminal? In my staging, Tannhaeuser is forced by members of the Wehrmacht to shoot a family. The staging is about individual guilt during the Nazi era" Kosminski'

Update. A Rheinoper spokesperson has now confirmed that it was 12 people who sought medical treatment or visited their doctor after seeing Burkhard C. Kosminski's controversial new production of Tannhauser.  Prior to this the number of people had not been mentioned. The announcement may be in part due to criticisms received by Deutsche Oper am Rhein  over artistic freedom following cancellation of the production. This included criticism from the "Friends Of Deutsche Oper am Rhein" who had said people should be able to make up their own minds about the production

At the same time, Kosminski has called the decision "a kind of censorship". It seems he had expressed a desire to enter a discourse to calm tempers and concerns on all sides. However, his proposal to stage such a discussion was ignored.

In an interview this weekend he defended his staging stating that modern audiences would or could not understand Wagner's drama.

"What interests me is the great, archaic theme of guilt" He told Der Spiegel . "Why shouldn't we cast Tannhaeuser as a perpetrator, a war criminal? In my staging, Tannhaeuser is forced by members of the Wehrmacht to shoot a family. The staging is about individual guilt during the Nazi era"

After protests and outrage because of the stark depiction of the murders of a family by performers in Nazi uniforms and a depiction  of a gaschamber, the opera announced on Wednesday,  that Tannhäuser would continue as a  concert performance. A proposal to change some scenes was rejected by Kosminski on artistic grounds

Oded Horowitz, speaking for the Northern Jewish Community welcomed the decision saying, "There is a risk that the suffering of the victims is trivialized by an inflationary use of Nazi symbolism,. You have to be very sensitive". However, he was keen to point out that the Jewish community did not not generally interfere in artistic matters. His statement goes further than that from local Jewish community leader Michael Szentei-Heise who described the production as simply "tasteless" and proving a disservice to Wagner's work.