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Schaper, Rüdiger

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Der Tagesspiegel - Germany | 17/12/2006

The fuss over Idomeneo

Rüdiger Schaper points out that the cut-off heads of the founders of the major religions in Hans Neuenfels' production of "Idomeneo" in Berlin did not merit the scandal they created, but notes that all the fuss about the withdrawal of the piece was nonetheless a telling experience. "'Idomeneo' is a lesson to us all about how fragile our identities are and how quickly cultural values can evaporate in the face of even the most tenuous of threats. It can happen any time – an anonymous phone call is all it takes. You can't criticise Muslim representatives for not wanting to see Neuenfels' 'Idomeneo'. Freedom of art means that you can also stay home if you want, as with free elections. Only dictatorships give orders. However, we have been poignantly reminded that hysteric reactions are just as much a part of the opera world as bel canto or Richard Wagner's Götterdämmerung."

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