Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The King of Crete

The Deutche Oper Berlin cancelled four performances of Mozart's "Idomeneo" because of the perception that they might be offensive to Islam:,1518,439393,00.html

"The Deutsche Oper, one of Berlin's three opera houses, was due to show a controversial production of Mozart's "Idomeneo" by director Hans Neuenfels in which the severed heads of the Prophet Muhammad, Jesus and Buddha are placed on four chairs. "

It turns out that the very same opera opened at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City the very next night. But there is no mention of Buddha, Jesus, or Mohammed in the plot synopsis:

What Buddha, Jesus and Mohammad are doing in a story set many centuries before either were born is beyond me. Maybe I'm a purist, but why do artists need to take such liberties? So my wife and I decided to see the Metropolitan Opera's more pure production.

Short review: Beautiful music. Boring plot. Buddha, Jesus, and Mohammed are not relevant.

Well, eventually the Deutche Oper had a change of heart, and allowed the production to go on:

Thomas Jefferson might be happy. I'm not sure about his contemporary and fellow Mason, Mozart.

Futher thought: Are Wagner operas performed in Israel?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A difficult time

I haven't posted anything for a while here. Part of the reason is that I've been very busy with work, another is that I've realized that I have a lot less original to say than I thought I had when I started this blog! I had composed a nice post about the fifth anniversay of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, but it disappeared into cyberspace somewhere between pressing "Publish" and its appearance.

I've also been saddened by repeated evidence of improper behavior among my fellow Orthodox Jews. Kashrut scandals, sexual abuse scandals, agunah outrages, riots, property disputes that spill out into the non-Jewish media and court system -- all make me worry, two days before Rosh Hashanah, how HaShem will judge us. My rav suggested that the publicity should remind us of how close any of us, even the most outwardly frum, is just one act away from very serious moral and ethical offenses. I will be thinking of that during the Yomin Norayim this year. It will be a time for reflection for me.