Just in: German director smears dog shit on FAZ journalist

Just in: German director smears dog shit on FAZ journalist


norman lebrecht

February 12, 2023

Sensitive souls at Hanover State Opera are struggling to save the career of its embattled ballet chief Marco Goecke after he was seen throwing dog-poo at a critic from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

The critic Wiebke Hüster (pictured) had written of a new Goecke production that the audience was alternately ‘maddened and murdered by boredom’.

Hanover State Opera has issued the following statement: ‘At the premiere of Faith – Love – Hope, During the first break in the foyer, there was an incident between ballet director Marco Goecke and a critic of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, in which her personal integrity was violated.

‘The Hanover State Opera very much regrets that the escalation has occurred. Director Laura Berman: ‘We contacted the journalist immediately after the incident and apologized to her personally and publicly. The Hanover State Opera is an open place of respectful cooperation and exchange. We believe that calm and care are now required. We will examine the employment law steps against ballet director Marco Goecke, advise them together and then act on this internal personnel matter. We deeply regret that our audience was disturbed by this incident.’


  • Paul Dawson says:

    Abominable behaviour, but whence came the dog excrement? If this had been deliberately acquired in advance, it aggravates the offence considerably.

    • La plus belle voix says:

      From a dog?

      • Nicholas says:

        I assume that the canine exretory product must have been firm and easy to pick up? How execrable is the doggone behavior!

    • Del-boy says:

      “Employment Law” be damned – that is a criminal matter right there.

      These ballet types are a bit weird aren’t they? Wasn’t there some acid throwing in Russia by another ballet nutter at some point?

    • Reginald James says:

      Marco is rarely without his beloved Dachshund. Even in the ballet rehearsal studio. In this case, without the dog — but with his recent doings in his pocket.

  • Curvy Honk Glove says:

    It’s precious that you musician-types consider yourselves so erudite and elevated above the unsophisticated, mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging masses, but when someone hurts your delicate fee-fees, the best you can do is fling literal turds at each other.

    • Bone says:

      Interesting thoughts.
      Wrong, but interesting.
      Always wondered how the mouth-breathing knuckledragging masses felt about performing arts that consisted of something more than lipsyncing to a beat. Hate to know that they are more excreble than I’d imagined. The unwashed definitely need a bath.

    • MWnyc says:

      The one who did the flinging was a dancer-type, for whatever that’s worth.

  • Robert Holmén says:

    In America, his supporters would say that he was simply “being passionate” and FOX News would declare he had “owned the libs”.

  • Herbie G says:

    Reminds me of the composer Max Reger, who, on reading an adverse critique of one of his works, wrote to the author: ‘I am sitting in the smallest room in my house, and your article is before me. It will shortly be behind me’.

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    Hannover has a history of trying to rile its conservative populace. Remember their repeated hiring of the lobotomised Spanish fraud director? I won’t honour him by mentioning his name, having had to put up with his pathetic Turandot production and his assistants whose eyes lit up like those of Mansonite acolytes whenever his name was mentioned.

    As so often in Germany’s heavily-populated theatre scene, there’s a persistent struggle for headline inches. This is but another example of that.

  • Greg Hlatky says:

    Cat fight between two of the most thin-skinned, pretentious and self-regarding professions around. Pass the popcorn.

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Dealing with critics is the theme of one of Hugo Wolf’s most delightful songs.

  • MMcGrath says:

    I guess you call this a shitstorm in PR language?

  • puhleeze says:

    Opera directors have been throwing the same thing at Verdi, Mozart, and Wagner for years….it was just a matter of time before getting around to a critic.

  • niloiv says:

    I thought dog shit was some metaphor… OK…

  • william osborne says:

    In 2015, Goekcke created a ballet named “Thin Skin.”

  • La plus belle voix says:

    Norman, if you read here:


    Goecke took a paper bag with dog excrement out of his jacket pocket and smeared the contents in her face. He did not throw them at her. The police were immediately informed. Soon we will know if he will be charged by the State Prosecutor with common assault. She has started private legal proceedings on her own part.

    • Lausitzer says:

      Plus: The federation of journalists (DJV) calls the Staatsoper statement “absolutely insufficient”.

      I have an impression that Berman and her team underestimate the possible damage of the, as I recognize it, woke image they created for Niedersächsische Staatsoper. FAZ is a conservative newspaper but by no means a reactionary rightwing outlet. Some even consider its highly regarded Feuilleton section as leaning to the liberal side. Thus don’t be surprised if people will take this attack and intimidation seriously.

  • Potpourri says:

    The witty remarks by Slipped Disc readers provide much needed humor in this world of war and natural disasters.

  • JB says:

    Any other solution than firing the guy immediately is inconceivable. To “examine the employment law” is a ridiculously weak statement.

  • Tony says:

    The only other creature I have seen using excrement as a weapon was a chimpanzee.
    All the airs and graces – and then behaves like an animal when his poor self-esteem is triggered. Why he hasn’t been dismissed instantly speaks volumes about the arts world.

  • Gustavo says:

    How does everyone know it was dog poop?

    Odour, size, shape and texture?

    Or was there a DNA analysis done like in Tel Aviv?

    Regardless of this human incident, the owners of dogs should be controlled and fined more rigorously.


  • Ed says:

    Poor dog.

  • Plush says:


  • dan says:


  • Stephen Gould says:

    As we speak, someone is – or at any rate, should be – writing a short opera entitled “Der Scheiss-spieldirektor”

  • Frank says:

    If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. In this case: if you’re too thin-skinned or insecure, don’t read the reviews of your work. Goecke is known for wearing sunglasses in the studio and in the theatre. Maybe he’s just a little too crazy…

  • Andrew says:

    Anyone who wears sunglasses indoors deserves to be prosecuted for that alone