Wednesday, October 02, 2013

When is a bat not a bat?

When it's a turkey. Here's my review of the new Die Fledermaus at ENO.

Odd that Bieito's thought-provoking Fidelio was booed and this one wasn't, though the applause was little more than "well done for trying".

We may need a moratorium on jackboots at the opera. Terry Gilliam got away with it in The Damnation of Faust because of the general brilliance of the whole; and The Passenger, by Mieczyslaw Weinberg, was the real thing and couldn't do without them - though notably failed to sell. But in Die Fledermaus? This is getting silly. Next time someone brings gratuitous Nazis into an opera production, I might just stand up in the auditorium and start singing 'Springtime for Hitler'...

There's a serious point to this. If productions fill up with Nazis the minute anything is German or Austrian, it is lazy thinking and becomes a cliche. And if Nazis are reduced to a cliche on the operatic stage, it devalues the horrors that they (and other fascist/totalitarian regimes) have perpetrated. It devalues their victims. Enough, already.