Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Mozart banned in case Muslims riot?

Peter Whittle, over at the New Culture Forum has written a piece about the news that Mozart's Idomeneo has been cancelled on the grounds that it might cause offence to people. Apparently, there is a scene in it where the "King of Crete holds aloft the decapitated heads of Poseidon, Jesus, Buddha and the Prophet Muhammad and cries ‘The gods are dead!’"

This is all now just getting rather silly I fear. What has exactly happened to the Age of Enlightenment? Banning art on the grounds that it might cause some group offence when set within the cultural context of the given days dominant political viewpoints? Why are we allowing our values to be degraded on the basis of a narrow viewpoint about personal affront to others?


Anonymous said...

Well "Idomeneo, Re di Creta" is admittedly a lesser-known offering from old Wolfgang, so I can't pretend to recall EVERY note and line, but I doubt if the original text actually calls for Mohammed's severed head on stage at this point, and if it had included the severed head of Jesus even the Freemasons couldn't have saved Mozart in 1781.

A bit of twenty-first century licence that has got its just deserts, I think. Besides, worshippers of Poseidon are rather prone to violent over-reaction, aren't they?

dizzy said...

if you take the piss out of Poseidon again I swear.....

Seriously though, you're probably right about artistic license. Although clearly its not just Mohammed in this scenario and others put on pedestal by religions.

End of the day it does not deserve to be banned on the grounds that one group might find it offensive. If you don't like, don't bloody buy a ticket for it.

Glass House said...

It doesn't seem to have been "banned". The Deutsche Oper has cancelled it to avoid trouble.

It may be appeasement but is it any different from deciding not to walk through Moss Side in Manchester in the middle of the night to avoid trouble?

dizzy said...

Yes I said it was cancelled rather than banned. And no, the comparison with walking through Moss Side is intellectually dishonest. It is not the same at all.

Glass House said...

Im just saying, it's a case of not exercising your right (to walk through any part of manchester/to put on a show) in order to avoid trouble (getting the shit kicked out of you by scallies/getting the shit kicked out of you by Jihadis)

In both cases, it could be considered that you're "letting the scallies/Jihadis win"

Im not saying I agree - i say, put the show on and be damned.