A friend who saw the new Rossini Festival production in Pesaro stood, for the first time in his life in the middle of an opera, and booed.
The production of Mose in Egitto by the British director Graham Vick featured several elements that he (and I) find deeply offensive.
Moses is presented as a Bin Laden-type fanatic, the Jews are Kalashnikov-toting terrorists and – most insensitive of all, while the Egyptian first-born are killed by clouds of gas, the Jews walk around in masks.
Not having seen the production myself I cannot make further comment. However, any conjunction of gas and Jews is a terrible stereotype… a hint of the very worst kind of Holocaust caricature or denial. Leading Italian Jews have called it ‘a crude provocation’.
If you saw the show, please comment below. Graham, send me your justification and I will publish it.