Tiroler Landestheater Innsbruck to drop opera Lakmé

Tiroler Landestheater Innsbruck
Tiroler Landestheater Innsbruck

India Post News Service

CHICAGO: Indian Americans here have pi9tched with TirolerLandestheater Innsbruck in Austria to withdraw “Lakmé” opera; scheduled for premiering on November 26; 2022, which they feel seriously, trivializes Hindu religious and other traditions.

Pitched by Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointing out that the taxpayer funded TirolerLandestheater Innsbruck should not be promoting appropriation of traditions, elements and concepts of “others” and ridiculing entire communities.  He observed that this deeply problematic opera was just a blatant belittling of a rich civilization and exhibited 19th-century orientalist attitudes

TirolerLandestheater Innsbruck should have shown some maturity before selecting an opera like Lakmé (Lakshmi), displaying Western caricaturing of Eastern heritage and abetting ethnic stereotyping, Rajan Zed noted.

Tiroler Landestheater Innsbruck
Tiroler Landestheater Innsbruck

It was highly unbecoming of an establishment like TirolerLandestheater Innsbruck to choose such an opera which had been blamed for caricaturing, appearance of mocking of “other” cultures, colonial terminology, degrading and offensive elements, dehumanizing portrayal, essentialism, narratives often failing to represent “other” cultures with dignity and humanity, imperialistic outlook, justifying ideas of superiority, looking down on people and customs, misrepresentation, considerably wrong about the culture it was supposed to be portraying, needless appropriation of cultural motifs, patronizing flawed mishmash of centuries-old orientalist stereotypes, pseudo and unabashed orientalism, reimagining traditions-practices-deities, shallow exoticism based on prejudice, etc. Rajan stated.

 TirolerLandestheater Innsbruck Supervisory Board Chairwoman Anita Obrist, Managing Director Johannes Reitmeier and Opera Director Michael Nelleto re-evaluate its systems and procedures and send its executives for cultural sensitivity training so that such inappropriate stuff did not slip through in the future.

 Hindus also consider opera as one of the revered art forms which offers richness and depth. But we are well into 21st century now, and outdated Lakmé, which premiered in 1883 in Paris, is long overdue for permanent retirement from the world stage; Rajan Zed points out.

Musical direction of this production of Lakmé (in French with German subtitles), whose tickets are priced up to €67, is provided by Tommaso Turchetta.

Lakmé, a French opera in three acts, was composed by Léo Delibes and set in India in the mid-19th century.

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