Saturday, August 27, 2005

Sommerloch, Part 8

Okay, I realize classical music is in crisis. I realize that the problem of bringing younger audiences in the door is perplexing. But I'm not sure that smoking pot at the opera is the answer.

Especially the ones I've seen: a four-hour extravaganza on Palestrina by a late-19th-Century composer whose name eludes me; a deeply eccentric production of an 18th Century opera with a classic theme, in which at one point various people danced with long fluorescent bulbs; and the entire history of the Jews, from Moses to the Nazis, in Kurt Weill's Der Weg des Versprechens one evening down in Chemnitz. The last scene of that one, with the Nazis breaking into the synagogue and dragging away the people who'd been sheltering there woulda been a, like, total bummer, man!

On the other hand, with the exception of a guy I knew who was a lighting designer and, thus, had to go there when they hired him, I've never known anyone to attend the Neuk├Âllner Oper.


The election campaign slogs on. The SPD, currently in power, has been putting up billboards that say "We're for XXXX, what are the others for?" with XXXX, of course, being replaced by an issue. Finally, the CDU, the right-wing opposition, has struck back with a billboard spotted near Potsdamer Platz yesterday that said "1000 jobs a day, every day, lost! That's what the red-green coalition stands for!" Ummm, actually not, or at least not in their published statements. You kind of expect the German electorate to be smarter than that.

That's not the only stumble the CDU has made of late: according to this excellent roundup of positions, they want to raise, not income taxes, but the VAT, or, in other words, the sales tax. What are they thinking? Raising the income tax, especially on the higher brackets, makes sense because it brings in revenue from those who can afford it. Raising the VAT puts the burden on everyone, especially the poor -- and there are, as we know, an increasing number of them in Germany -- who nonetheless have to buy costly items from time to time.

A lot of people are talking like a CDU government is inevitable. I may be the only person I know who doesn't believe it is -- and I don't read the papers obsessively, nor can I vote. But at least it'll be over in a couple of weeks and if I were able to vote, the Babypartei Deutschland, whose posters I saw last week, and who turn out to be an art move, might well get my write-in vote. After all, you don't expect babies to act like adults.

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