Verdi, Naked and Anti-American

Austrian Marxist uses opera to slam US capitalism
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 12, 2008 6:51 AM CDT
Adina Aaron as Amelia and Erik Fenton as Riccardo perform on stage during a rehearsal of Giuseppe Verdi's opera 'Ein Maskenball'.   (Jens-Ulrich Koch/AFP/Getty Images)
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(Newser) – A German staging of Verdi’s “A Masked Ball” leaves Uncle Sam wearing little but a mask, Der Spiegel reports. In a rebuke of US capitalism, the production parades naked retirees on a set of the World Trade Center's ruins, and offers a female singer with a Hitler mustache saluting the audience, the Daily Telegraph reports. "One has to introduce new elements" into Verdi's all-too-well-known opera, director Johann Kresnik says.

"The naked stand for people without means, the victims of capitalism, the underclass, who don't have anything any more," he explains. A politician in the eastern city of Erfurt, where the show will be premiered tonight, has called for a boycott, but tickets for the month-long run are nearly sold out.