World Digest


October 28, 2006|By Los Angeles Times

Berlin company to run opera despite controversial imagery

BERLIN -- After facing weeks of criticism for bowing to radical Islam, the German Opera company in Berlin announced yesterday that it would stage a Mozart production that includes a scene showing the severed head of the prophet Muhammad.

The opera company, which pulled Idomeneo from its schedule in September for fear of inciting Islamists, said the show was revived after a security assessment found "dangerous incidents unlikely."

Police had informed the opera that there could be "incalculable risks" if the performance went on but did not identify a specific threat. Politicians and artists argued that canceling the production appeased religious militants. Muslim leaders in Germany also suggested that canceling the show was rash; several said they would attend a performance to determine whether it was religiously offensive.

Idomeneo is the story of a king's pact with the Greek god Poseidon to sacrifice his son. The Deutsche Oper's production shows the king lifting the severed heads of Poseidon, Jesus, Buddha and Muhammad.

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