Kosminski's "Nazi" Tannhauser leads to audience walkouts and protests from Jewish Community

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday, 6 May 2013 | 7:56:00 pm

Burkhard C. Kosminski's new production of Tannhauser for the Deutsche Oper am Rhein has lead to booing, audience members walking out (some loudly slamming theatre doors as they left) and complaints from the local Jewish community.

The protest's came as it was found that Kosminski's first opera production is set during the Third Reich and is filled with Nazi and Holocaust imagery. This includes: Third Reich uniforms, Swastikas and what appears to be a gas chamber. For example, Venus is found dressed as an SS Officer with Tannhauser as one of her SS thugs - forced to murder a family

However, protests were not only from opera goers, as local Jewish community leader Michael Szentei-Heise was equally disturbed by the production calling it "tasteless". "Wagner had indeed been a fervent anti-Semite" he noted but went on to say, that Wagner's antisemitism was not to be found in the music or libretto and thus the production did the composer a disservice. "Wagner had nothing to do with the Holocaust" he told Die Zeit. He also noted that as head of the Jewish community in Dusseldorf  "It strikes me as odd to have to defend Wagner".

Images from the production can be found below.