Artistic License

by The New Republic Staff | September 27, 2006

I don't know Mozart's opera Idomeneo. But a production of it by the Deutsche Oper Berlin has been cancelled. This production, created by director Hans Neuenfels, contains a feature not suggested in the original: the decapitated heads of Mohammed, Jesus, Buddha, and Poseidon. The decision to close down the opera was not, believe me, in response to wounded Christian sensibilities. Once again, however, the rage of Muslims has been invoked by artistic liberals to justify the shutdown of an artistic work. Forgive me, if this doesn't reek of fascism--Islamofascism, to be exact--what does? This is all described in a New York Times article today by Judy Dempsey and Mark Landler. Does the opera company believe that its pathetic nullifying gesture will pacify the agitated faithful of the Arab and Muslim worlds?

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