Opera house seeks bald men and women who will go nude

Opera house seeks bald men and women who will go nude


norman lebrecht

December 04, 2019

Graz Oper, in Austria, is casting Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s The Passenger, an extraordinarily sensitive work about Auschwitz survivors and guards.

The company’s call-out for extras displays a bluntness wholly inappropriate to the circumstances.

Judge for yourselves:

Für die Oper „Die Passagierin“, die auf differenzierte Weise berührende Schicksale aus der Zeit des Nationalsozialismus thematisiert, werden Frauen und Männer als Statisten gesucht. Wenn Sie ein gewisses schauspielerisches Talent haben, Teil einer Opernproduktion sein möchten und außerdem folgende Eigenschaften mitbringen, dann bewerben Sie sich für das Casting am 4. Dezember!
Herren mit Glatze oder (auch teilweise) abrasierten Haaren bzw. Männer, die bereit wären, ihre Frisur von Maskenbildnern dementsprechend anpassen zu lassen
Damen mit sehr kurzgeschnittenen Haaren oder Glatze
Damen und Herren, die bereit sind, sich in bestimmten Szenen komplett zu entkleiden
Bei Interesse wenden Sie sich bitte an den Leiter der Statisterie, Florin Ailenei, unter florin.ailenei@oper-graz.com


  • John Borstlap says:

    Such ideas are always bubbling-up in Regietheater heads who think that the music is insufficiently expressive to hold the audience’s interest. In many cases of contemporary works, such suspicions are in themselves justified, but in this case it is an insult to both Weinberg and the audience. Weinberg’s music does not demand distraction but attention to what it really is.

  • anon says:

    “bald or have partially shaved heads”

    Well, at least they don’t require men to be circumcised or partially so.

    • SoCal Dan says:

      Last May, UCLA Opera performed Janice Hamer’s opera Lost Childhood (based on Dr. Yehuda Nir’s memoir) which has two scenes—one too many, in my opinion—dealing with circumcision as a way to identify Jewish men in Nazi-occupied Poland.

      In one of these scenes, an Aryan male is supposed to appear on stage completely nude. The man chosen for the role in this production must have been circumcised, however, because he wore underpants.

  • FrauGeigerin says:

    This is just disgusting.

  • minacciosa says:

    I saw the opera during its Detroit run; I am mystified by the need for nude and less hirsute extras in the show. My impression is that they would be unnecessarily distracting and that is an understatement.

  • This is absolutely inappropriate and disgusting. Bald I can understand but naked? WHY? For some scandal reasons or what? Norman: who is the stage director?

    David Pountney’ss wonderfu; production is still available on DVD: just buy this one!


    • Jonathan Sutherland says:

      The director of Die Passagierin will be Nadja Loschky who is artistic director of the opera in Bielefeld. Early in her career she worked with Hans Neuenfels. Genug gesagt.

  • Dennis says:

    I’ve often wondered how opera singers can stomach many of the productions they have to appear in. Given the generally crass and tasteless (or often politically slanted, – to the Left of course) nature of so many opera productions these days, I’d rather listen to a recording or with eyes closed and just imaging my own staging.

    • Greg Bottini says:

      I’m with you, Dennis….
      With the precipitous decline in the quality of singing and the huge increases in ticket prices over the past few decades, I’m becoming more and more happy with sitting at home and listening to the great opera recordings of the past, imagining the settings and stagings for myself.
      The theatre of the mind is so much better than any stage production that ever could be mounted.

  • Caranome says:

    Don’t they need to be bone thin and emaciated? I mean, a bouncy plump Falstaff-looking type won’t do, would it?

  • Lorenz / Wien, Österreich says:

    I once saw a “Rigoletto” at Theater Freiburg (Germany) which opened in the locker room of a men’s gymnasium. Three or four nude muscle men were taking showers upstage when the curtain went up. Try singing “Questa o quella” with THAT going on behind you!

  • John G. Deacon says:

    Send request to the Liceu. They frequently pick up nudes from Las Ramblas and, judging by their regietheater Wozzeck years ago, nudes of all ages – and pendulous, with it – and the presence of these naked monstrosities totally destroyed the heart-breaking and very real ending.

    There was also the dreadful Bieito “Ballo” where the naked were smeared in blood (lotsa”Ramblas” girls there). Not to speak of an appalling Freischütz in Montpellier…..

    You have to be very careful what you buy tickets for these days ! Herheim’s Bayreuth Parsifal set the lowest standard for scenic cr*p yet seen, I believe ?

    • Novagerio says:

      John, you are lucky that you didn’t see Schlingensief’s Bayreuth Parsifal then (!) – Herheim’s was almost “traditional” in comparison.

  • Michael says:

    The title is wrong! It is most easily read “men who are bald and women that will go nude” wich makes it seem that the Opera house is doing something that goes against gender equality, wich is not the case. Gender equality is an important thing wich we must work for, but in this case they seek the same from men and women!


    I have nothing to say to people being naked on stage, you see it sometimes and most often I have the feeling it doesn’t ad to the play, even though when portraying the situation in Auschwitz perhaps there could be a reason. I don’t know.