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Germany

Hitler Birthday Show Planned For Berlin Opera House. What Were They Thinking?

Op-Ed: The Berlin opera house scheduled a performance of Richard Wagner’s "Rienzi" – Hitler’s favorite opera – for April 20, the Führer’s birthday. After complaints, the show was rescheduled. Still, how could the Deutsche Oper have organ

Hitler's Reichstag speech in 1933 promoting the bill (German Federal Archives)
The capital's classic music lovers gather at the Berlin opera house (@boetter)
Lucas Wiegelmann

BERLIN--You only need to know a few basic facts to understand how the German opera world's latest bit of theatrics demonstrates zero historical awareness and even less of a sense of how to manage the past.

1. Richard Wagner's "Rienzi" was Adolf Hitler's favorite opera.

2. During the Nazi era, the Deutsche Oper Berlin was, along with the Bayreuth Festival Theater, the bastion of music for the Nazis.

3. This year is the Deutsche Oper's 100th anniversary.

4. Hitler's birthday was on April 20, and during the Nazi years it was a big day known as "Führers Geburtstag" (Führer's birthday).

This information is available to anyone as educated as, say, an opera house director.

So if you conducted a poll and asked on what day in 2012 you should NOT, as director of the Deutsche Oper, schedule a performance of "Rienzi," the answer -- after maybe Christmas Eve and the day of the European Soccer Championships finale – would be April 20. Right? Talk about a bad idea: Hitler's opera, on his birthday, during the centennial year of an opera house adored by Joseph Goebbels and Nazi big-wigs in general. Really?

Christoph Seuferle, however, didn't have a problem with it. The commissioning director of the Deutsche Oper set the date long ago and nobody put two and two together.

Until recently, that is, when staffers at the Deutsche Oper did notice and protested. So now the institution has released a statement that reads: "During internal discussions, a number of those associated with the opera house stated that for personal reasons a performance of that opera on that particular night would be difficult or impossible."

"Rienzi" has now been rescheduled for the following night. Leos Janacek's "Jenufa" will be performed on April 20.

Read the original story in German

Photo - @boetter

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War In Ukraine, Day 222: Ukrainian Army Makes New Gains In Regions Annexed By Russia

The Ukrainian army is pushing the front line forward in several directions.

Fire after a rocket attack by Russian troops in Kharkiv

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The Ukrainian army is pushing the front line forward in several directions, including the liberation of two more cities – Arkhangelske and Myrolyubivka – in the southern region of Kherson. There were also reports Monday of major breakthroughs by Kyiv forces along the Dnipro River in the south.

Ukraine has also made progress in the past 48 hours in the region of Luhansk. Notably, these are two of the four regions that Vladimir Putin announced that Russia had annexed on Friday.

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With these advances by Ukrainian forces, along with gains in Donetsk (see below) and Zaporizhzhia, Russia does not hold the full territory of any of the areas of occupied Ukraine that Moscow now claims as its own.

Fighting has also intensified in the northeastern Kharkiv region, where Ukraine has also made significant advances and Russia continues shelling in response.

The successful counterattacks by the Ukrainian military in Kherson and the Kharkiv region since last month has left Russian forces controlling less Ukrainian land than they did at the start of the war in February 2022, an analysis by CNN found. Russia’s first massive push overnight into February 24 allowed it to secure or advance on one fifth of Ukrainian territory, or about 119,000 square kilometers. Russia now controls roughly 3,000 square kilometers less land than it did in the first five days of the war.

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