Controversial Berlin opera features interactive drug usage

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Friday, August 26, 2005

Berlin's Neukoellner Opera House is causing a stir with its new production, The Yellow Princess.

The story presented in the French opera, by Camille Saint-Saens, is of an artist "whose life is dictated by a love for drugs and Japan." As a result, the performers smoke cannabis joints on stage, and the theatre itself is encouraging the audience to join in.

Artistic director Bernhard Glocksin says that the theatre is claiming the metaphorical "artistic licence", to excuse the actions of the actors and audience, which are against German law. Glocksin was quoted by Ananova as saying opera would be "improved with a few joints and some appetising lines", noting the production was partly an experiment, to see what they could "get away with."

"Artistic licence" is at par to an "artistic liberty", where something is exaggerated or changed for the sake of the art itself. For example a visual artist painting a landscape might move a tree to another area of their work, for better balance, or a poet ignoring pentameter when writing a traditional sonnet.

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