Critics lose their bearings at Holocaust operamain
The range of press opinion on Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s The Passenger at English National Opera has spanned the gamut from two stars to five.
Much of the negative comment has been subjective and tangential. One review in the Independent dealt mostly with decor. Another in the Financial Times claims the opera ‘makes the frankly unbelievable assumption that Nazi death camp guards were capable of guilt-attacks long after their victims were gassed.’ Has the glib Andrew Clark read none of the vast body of German memoirs and research on Holocaust perpetrators?
The least competent, for me, was Andrew Clements in The Guardian who, after dissing the opera, wrote that ‘Weinberg has become something of a crusade for (director David) Pountney’.
Really? A crusade, Andrew Clements, is when European Christians kill thousands of Jews and Muslims on a rampage towards Palestine. What David Pountney has done is bravely and passionately to expose the ultimate legacy of those original crusades. To call his advocacy a ‘crusade’ is a travesty of English usage and common sense.
A music critic who reads no history, or dictionaries, cannot be trusted.
Deborah Orr, following up in The Guardian, wrote: ‘The Passenger (should) surely now be a landmark vehicle through which even Israel Palestine could be explored.’ Complete loss of critical perspective.