Another front in the culture war

This one in the unlikely realm of opera. Heather Mac Donald writes:

Mozart’s lighthearted opera The Abduction from the Seraglio does not call for a prostitute’s nipples to be sliced off and presented to the lead soprano. Nor does it include masturbation, urination as foreplay, or forced oral sex. Europe’s new breed of opera directors, however, know better than Mozart what an opera should contain. So not only does the Abduction at Berlin’s Komische Oper feature the aforementioned activities; it also replaces Mozart’s graceful ending with a Quentin Tarantino–esque bloodbath and the promise of future perversion.

Welcome to Regietheater (German for “director’s theater”), the style of opera direction now prevalent in Europe. Regietheater embodies the belief that a director’s interpretation of an opera is as important as what the composer intended, if not more so. By an odd coincidence, many cutting-edge directors working in Europe today just happen to discover the identical lode of sex, violence, and opportunity for hackneyed political “critique” in operas ranging from the early Baroque era to that of late Romanticism.

I’m tempted to quote more, because Mac Donald is essentially writing about what I call the postmodern liquidation of the West. Opera isn’t one of my interests, so I don’t have any deeply felt attachment to the works that are being, well, sodomized by opera directors in Europe. But I do recommend reading the whole article. It’s something of a cultural compass, when great classical works are treated like this.

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