BERLIN--You only need to know a few basic facts to understand how the German opera worlds latest bit of theatrics demonstrates zero historical awareness and even less of a sense of how to manage the past.
1. Richard Wagners "Rienzi" was Adolf Hitlers favorite opera.
2. During the Nazi era, the Deutsche Oper Berlin was, along with the Bayreuth Festival Theater, the bastion of music for the Nazis.
3. This year is the Deutsche Opers 100th anniversary.
4. Hitlers birthday was on April 20, and during the Nazi years it was a big day known as "Führers Geburtstag" (Führers birthday).
This information is available to anyone as educated as, say, an opera house director.
So if you conducted a poll and asked on what day in 2012 you should NOT, as director of the Deutsche Oper, schedule a performance of "Rienzi," the answer -- after maybe Christmas Eve and the day of the European Soccer Championships finale would be April 20. Right? Talk about a bad idea: Hitlers opera, on his birthday, during the centennial year of an opera house adored by Joseph Goebbels and Nazi big-wigs in general. Really?
Christoph Seuferle, however, didnt have a problem with it. The commissioning director of the Deutsche Oper set the date long ago and nobody put two and two together.
Until recently, that is, when staffers at the Deutsche Oper did notice and protested. So now the institution has released a statement that reads: During internal discussions, a number of those associated with the opera house stated that for personal reasons a performance of that opera on that particular night would be difficult or impossible.
Rienzi has now been rescheduled for the following night. Leos Janacek's "Jenufa" will be performed on April 20.
Read the original story in German
Photo - @boetter