NOT REALLY SURE WHAT TO SAY ABOUT THIS , OTHER THAN IT'S FROM AN AUSTRIAN PLAY
German staging of Verdi's A Masked Ball on 9/11 with naked cast in Mickey Mouse masks
By Harry de Quetteville in Berlin
A German opera house is to unveil a provocative new production staged in the ruins of New York's World Trade Centre.
It features naked pensioners and Mickey Mouse masks, Hitler salutes and Elvis impersonators. German staging of Verdi's A Masked Ball on 9/11 with naked cast in Mickey Mouse masks
The self-consciously outrageous September 11th staging of Verdi's 'A Masked Ball' has been dreamed up by Austrian director Johann Kresnik.
He has described the concoction as a populist critique of modern American society, aimed at showing up the disparities between rich and poor, which attracting a large audience.
"It will be a different, a provocative masked ball on the ruins of the World Trade Centre," he told reporters before Saturday's premiere. “The naked stand for people without means, the victims of capitalism, the underclass, who don’t have anything anymore."
Some of the cast are dressed in soldiers uniforms, or in the red white and blue of Uncle Sam, or in day-glow pink Elvis costumes, slashed to the waist. Many, however, appear to spend their time on stage not wearing anything at all. German staging of Verdi's A Masked Ball on 9/11 with naked cast in Mickey Mouse masks
They include dozens local pensioners, recruited by the opera house in Erfurt, eastern Germany, to appear naked wearing nothing but plastic Mickey Mouse masks.
"It’s a very beautiful, poetic scene," said Guy Montavon, the theatre’s general manager.
He said that 60 eager amateurs were keen to appear naked before an audience for the premiere, but only 35 made the final cut.
The staging deliberately toys with images that are extremely sensitive both in the US and Germany. German staging of Verdi's A Masked Ball on 9/11 with naked cast in Mickey Mouse masks
Foreign audiences may find naked singers cavorting in front of the iconic ruined mesh of World Trade Centre metalwork most provocative.
In Germany however, a female singer with a painted on toothbrush moustache performing a straight arm Nazi salute appears particularly conceived to outrage.
The obvious ostentation of the production prompted one local politician to call for locals to boycott the performances.
But that call has been completely ignored.
Indeed, though the production looks unlikely to win many prizes for the nuance of its message, Mr Kresnik has succeeded in his other aim, selling out the Erfurt opera house for the premiere.
Only a handful of tickets are available for subsequent performances later this month.
"One has to introduce new elements," he said. “Otherwise it is difficult to attract new theatregoers."