Entertainment & Arts

‘Tannhauser’ staging using Nazi imagery canceled by opera company

A scene from the controversial new staging of Wagner’s “Tannhauser” at the Deutsche Oper am Rheim in Dusseldorf, Germany.
(Hans Jorg Michel / Deutsche Oper am Rheim)

The plug has been officially pulled on a controversial new German production of Wagner’s “Tannhauser” that used Nazi costumes and other imagery from the Third Reich.

The Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Dusseldorf announced on Wednesday that it has called off all remaining performances of the production and will replace them with concert performances of the opera.

“Tannhauser” began performances at the company earlier this month and were scheduled to continue through June 2.

PHOTOS: Arts and culture in pictures by The Times


In a statement released Wednesday, the company said it is pulling the production because the intense nature of certain scenes has caused some viewers psychological and physical stress. It said some viewers have had to seek medical attention as a result of seeing the production.

The company also said it discussed changing certain scenes with the director, Burkhard C. Kosminski, but that he had refused to make changes. “Of course we have to respect for legal reasons the artistic freedom of the director,” the company said.

Kosminski’s staging includes characters wearing Nazi uniforms and armbands. It reportedly features a scene that strongly suggests a gas chamber. When the production was first performed this month, a number of viewers reportedly booed and walked out. 

Wagner, who was born 200 years ago this year, held anti-Semitic views and his music eventually became a favorite of Adolf Hitler.



‘Tannhauser’ production booed for using Nazi imagery

‘Django Unchained’ pays homage to Wagner’s ‘Siegfried’

Vanger vs. Wagner? ‘Dragon Tattoo’ family has familiar ring


Get our daily Entertainment newsletter

Get the day's top stories on Hollywood, film, television, music, arts, culture and more.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.