DUSSELDORF, GERMANY – There is a fine line between parody and really bad taste.
Mel Brooks danced right up to that line with ‘Springtime for Hitler and Germany’ in The Producers.
Nazis can be funny in a happy and gay kind of way.
Gas chambers and executions, not so much.
And that’s a lesson the Deutsche Oper am Rhein learned the hard way, after the audience walked out during a recent ‘updated’ performance of Wagner’s ‘Tannhauser’.
Seems they did not like new scenes showing Nazis executing Jews and killing them in gas chambers, scenes not in the original, first produced in 1845. Or in any production, anywhere, for that matter.
The opera company canceled the rest of the shows after the direct said ‘nein!’ To requests to tone down the disputed scenes that caused several audience members to get medical attention.
The fact that the opera company killed the production is true Wagnerian irony, given that Tannhauser ends like most Wagnerian tales: with a funeral.