Cleveland Orchestra Creates Festival To Explore Art And Censorship In 2020

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Looking ahead to 2020, the Cleveland Orchestra plans an opera to get people talking. Classical music often offers an escape from current events, but the orchestra hopes to prompt reflection on issues that are rocking our modern lives. 

This coming May, the orchestra will perform a 1937 opera that was condemned by Germany’s Nazi regime during the run-up to World War II. The music and the plot of Alban Berg’s “Lulu” were dismissed as a “Jewish intellectual infection.” Orchestra CEO Andre Gremillet said “Lulu” will be the center of a festival -- a series of collaborations with area cultural institutions, like the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage. The festival will include a series of concerts, panel discussions and film screenings.

"The whole goal of this, of this festival, is really to spur some discussion about the role of art in society," said Gremillet. "The way government censorship can play in, and prejudice as a larger theme." 

In the new year, the orchestra will also continue playing for audiences beyond Northeast Ohio. The orchestra performs a two-week Miami residency in January, followed by seven performances in Europe and four dates in the United Arab Emirates starting in March.

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