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Children sit in front row at bloody sex opera

The Local · 6 Feb 2012, 12:18

Published: 06 Feb 2012 12:18 GMT+01:00

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As part of a new publicity drive to spark a passion for opera in young people, the Semperoper gave 51 of the best seats in the house to local kids aged 16 and 17 for Saturday’s first night.

“Because they’re so important to us, I’m happy to give them the best seats up at the front,” Ulrike Hessler, artistic director at the Semperoper, told Monday’s edition of Bild newspaper. “The average age of our audience is around 55. We have to think of the future!”

Hessler is also actively bringing the spark of opera into schools themselves. Citing official statistics that suggest as many as 50 percent of music lessons are being cancelled in Germany’s schools, she said, “I’m sending two colleagues into the schools for five weeks to prepare the classes for the opera.”

But the choice of production for the new educational campaign could raise a few eyebrows. Star director Stefan Herheim’s four-hour production of the modern classic “Lulu” features his leading soprano Gisela Stille in a naked skin suit simulating various sexual positions with a number of men.

The opera, based on the plays “Earth Spirit” and “Pandora’s Box” by Frank Wedekind and first performed in 1937, tells the story of a prostitute who murders men, drives them to suicide, and is finally herself killed by Jack the Ripper.

Sixteen-year-old Lisa from the Bertolt Brecht high school was a little bemused by the production. “It was a little too much sex for me,” she told the paper afterwards. “My classmates also had a lukewarm opinion. But I’ll definitely go to the opera again.”

But despite the somewhat indifferent reaction, according toBild, none of the schoolchildren fled in either of the two intervals, and applauded conscientiously when the curtain fell.

Story continues below…

The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:19 February 6, 2012 by sebastian2010
Children?? 16 - 17 year olds are young adults. This is Europe , not America where people do not get their panties in a knot over some boobs in a play.

Grow up people
14:43 February 6, 2012 by Englishted
They only put them at the front so they would not throw popcorn into the back of everyone else's head.
15:03 February 6, 2012 by insight101
That's right, this is Europe, where adults have sex with 14 year olds, and animals, and fathers and mothers invite boys over to stay with their daughter. So prostitutes seems like a step up...There are logical reasons why Americans and even some Germans decide not to condone such a moral free for all.
15:19 February 6, 2012 by boopsie
What's the surprise here? The germans are famous for their sensitivities in matters of sex, human relations and the jewish "question".
15:50 February 6, 2012 by raandy
Students 16 & 17 should be able to handle this

my all time unbelievable was the article last year by Local about "Penis Boxing", Germans may be more open minded about these issues compared to Americans or Britts but that was way over the line.
17:45 February 6, 2012 by Wise Up!
Indoctrinating the future social democrat perverts…..
21:38 February 6, 2012 by SchwabHallRocks
Got to love the meat beaters at the The Local for putting this picture front and center.

A few weeks ago it was the David's genitals.

I suspect the persons running The Local are only 16 or 17 as well.
21:41 February 6, 2012 by sebastian2010
dear insight101

FACT: There are more sex crimes in America than anywhere else in the WORLD.

Read a book will you?
21:50 February 6, 2012 by carlm
Classy bunch at the Dresden Opera. Why don't they just rename the place Reeper Bahn or whatever it's called.

sebastian2010, you're an idiot.
21:58 February 6, 2012 by SchwabHallRocks
Next thing we know, Sebastien 2010 will be telling us that there is less drunk driving, less spousal abuse, and lower rates of alcoholism in Germany / Europe, too than the USA, because of liberal use of alcohol.

what a meat head.
01:43 February 7, 2012 by bartschaff
@boopsie #4: Idiotic comments abound in this article, but yours likening artistic freedom or healthy sexuality with the Holocaust top them all.

@carlm #9: 12 year olds would display more maturity in a discussion than you.

@SchwabHallRocks #10: yes, of course Europeans have a more sensible relationship with alcohol: no "nothing before college, binging thereafter" here. At any rate, you're together with carlm, both in the childish gratuitous offenses and in you ridiculous puritanism that makes one wonder whether you think that 'kids' are better off with more info on weapons than on sex.
10:07 February 7, 2012 by JenDigs
OK, I have to weigh in here... As an American mom, I can say that my experience has been that Americans in general are less concerned with their kids seeing images of violence than they are about their kids seeing images of nudity or sex. My husband and I have very different views- he is more typical American in that he thinks kids should be screened from all forms of nudity and sex and sexual innuendo... but he'll allow our child to watch him play a violent video game like Halo or Team Fortress (when I am not around)....A for me, I think images of nudity and mild scenes of loving relationships (showing kissing and mild petting- but nothing graphic) are ok for children old enough to understand (this obviously varies for every child and only their parents can really make this call)... I don't think kids should be exposed to adult situations before they understand the biology of life and can watch without covering their eyes or making crude noises or jokes (both signs the kid really isn't ready). I think seeing healthy relationships and a healthy appreciation of the beauty of a human body are better for kids than images of violence found in video games and movies.

That all said, do I think an Opera about a murderous prostitute is ok for 16-17 year olds? Depends on the kids... I hope that by the time my son is 17, he could watch something like that with an objective eye (and ear) to the human suffering and complexities of the dismal existence being portrayed without pointing to the naked skin suit and chortling about "boobies".

Rant over.

10:27 February 7, 2012 by koli
What can you do... if you have morals at home then have nothing to worry about. My girl is German, she is going in 19 and she has her priorities about sex well defined and she is not sleeping around to prove she is a free and up to the date times. One for her mother and and we are so proud of her, and I have to add. She is not what you call an ugly girl.
10:37 February 8, 2012 by raandy
Koll, that is good to hear, having two girls myself.

I agree that Americans are more concerned about nudity than violence. When I arrived in Germany and joined a health club , I was shocked when I stepped into the Sauna and there were naked females of all ages there.At first I thought I made a mistake then i noticed (took a while) that there were males also present. In a few weeks it was no big deal and became normal, nobody stared and life went on.
19:34 February 8, 2012 by Englishted

Having read you comment ,it made me smile and sorry could not help thinking you were not randy at the time you entered the sauna ,or you may have turned a few heads :-).
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