Wagner’s Nazi-themed opera cancelled in Germany

Wagner’s opera Tannhauser with a Nazi-themed production has been cancelled after audience members had to receive medical treatment for shock. The show featured scenes of gas chambers and the execution of a family.


A leading German opera house, the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, which performs in Dusseldorf featured the show. The opera house said that it could not justify the artistic work with such an extreme impact. The production added that it had asked the director Burkhad Kosminski to tone down the scenes but he had refused to do so.

Starting from May 9, 2013 the opera will be performed solely as a music piece without the staging. Performers could be seen inside the gas chambers at the beginning of the Dusseldorf performance, which had shown a family having their heads shaved and then being shot. Other scenes on the show also involved a rape and suicide.

The production was also booed by the audience at the Saturday’s premiere, as the press reports. The opera is set in the Middle Ages and features a singing contest at a German castle. The opera house management said in a statement that it was aware that the show would arouse controversy. The statement added that after considering all the arguments they have come to a conclusion that they cannot justify their artistic work with such an extreme impact.