Hearing Slated for Opera Mooner

By Ariel Zilber

Published November 21, 2003, issue of November 21, 2003.
  • Print
  • Share Share

This past August, following a performance of Richard Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” in Rio de Janeiro’s opera house, the production’s eccentric Jewish director made sure the audience received a view of the full moon — and it was not to confirm the arrival of Rosh Chodesh.

Brazilian prosecutors have charged the German-born, American-raised director, Gerald Thomas, with indecent exposure after he removed his pants to expose his backside to a disgruntled audience, which disapproved of the director’s modern interpretation of Wagner’s classic, including a plot change that highlighted the composer’s antisemitism. Thomas claims the mooning came only in response to anti-Jewish catcalls. A court hearing is scheduled for February 17.

“All the Wagner hard-liners in the front three rows started shouting at me ‘You Jew, you Jew. You’re an assassin. Go back to your camp,’” Thomas told the Daily Telegraph. “I am afraid my blood boiled. My family lost eight people in Auschwitz.”

Thomas’s gesture was all the more brazen considering the high-powered contingent on hand for the performance, which included the president of Brazil, actors Winona Ryder and Denzel Washington and “Godfather” director Francis Ford Coppola, who went backstage to console the distraught director.

For the last 17 years, Thomas has headed the Dry Opera Company in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Since the controversy erupted, he has apologized on national television and is currently in self-imposed exile in Britain.






Find us on Facebook!
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.