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9/11, The Musical

3:23 PM, Apr 11, 2008 • By JAIME SNEIDER
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So a German opera house is staging Verdi's A Masked Ball "in the ruins of New York's World Trade Centre." This rendition also "features naked pensioners and Mickey Mouse masks, Hitler salutes and Elvis impersonators." One critic who attended rehearsals observes, "Mr Kresnik's anti-capitalist staging is unlikely to be celebrated for its subtlety." That would be the understatement of the year. Dancing and singing and performing Hitler salutes at the ruins of the WTC is about as subtle as the invasion of Poland.

The absurdity of the situation is apparently lost on the director, who candidly describes his work as "a populist critique of modern American society." Has opera ever been a populist enterprise? Does the director honestly expect the disenfranchised will hear, let alone act on, his call to arms? Which brings me to one final point: isn't a lecture from Germany about human rights still a century or two premature?