3 April 2023
Why should we stop at cancelling the world’s greatest explorer, Captain James Cook, and the greatest playwright, William Shakespeare? Why not the world’s greatest composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart? In his operas, his acceptance of slavery, racism, white privilege, authority, misogyny, anti-Islam, wife-bashing, man-woman marriage, and marital fidelity make him a prime candidate for cancellation. Weighted against this is Mozart’s casting of a girl dressed up as a boy which today’s Woke generation would support. Don’t blame Mozart’s various librettists, guilt by association makes Mozart also guilty. Just ask Moira Deeming. He also wrote church music. Why should we allow people to be spiritually uplifted by beautiful music glorifying God? And don’t even think of Mozart’s piano music where he uses both black and white keys!
Burn Mozart’s operatic scores and rewrite his piano scores so that only black notes are used, dismantle the talented white privilege male-dominated orchestras that are the epitome of Western Civilisation, excellence and hard work, and have opera singers retrained to perform negro folk songs of repression. In Hitler’s time, Jewish musicians lost their jobs in orchestras and Jewish composers were not performed so there is already a precedent for cancelling Mozart. We should put the culturally inappropriate Mozart back in his miserable little 18th century Austrian box.
Let’s start with Don Giovanni. The Don’s diet is sexual gluttony. He’s arrogant, misogynistic, abuses everyone, and resorts to racial derision. He is a murderer but it’s hard to tell whether murder is acceptable or not to the Woke generation because the Don’s victim II Commendatore was high class, white, privileged, and defending his daughter’s honour. Through Woke eyes, he probably deserved his fate. The Don’s sidekick Leporello keeps a scorebook (Madamina, il catalogo é questo) and description of the Don’s sexual conquests who were blonde, brunette, short, tall, fat, skinny, young, and old. No freckled redheads. No blacks. No men or boys. Only women. Why? Although the Don’s conquests were 640 in Italy, 231 in Germany, 100 in France, 91 in Turkey, and 1003 in Spain, there was not a single first nations sexual conquest. Why not? Surely this is discrimination of some sort or other. During short-lived droughts, the Don ravished old women just to keep the scorebook ticking over. Those who define themselves with various letters of the alphabet were not mentioned in Leporello’s catalogue aria which is reason enough to pull down Mozart’s statues in Salzburg. Don Giovanni seduces the peasant girl Zerlina on her wedding day (La á darem la mano) and she pleads to her beau Masetto to beat her for her sins (Batti, batti, o bel Masetto). It’s hard to know whether today’s anti-women demonstrators would support or abhor Zerlina’s plea. To make matters worse, Don Giovanni was the first opera ever to use a trombone. Surely someone somewhere must find that sonically offensive and discriminatory? Get rid of this opera from the repertoire and make the world a better place.
Mozart’s best-known opera, Le nozze di Figaro, is riddled with sexual innuendo. That’s acceptable if half-naked trannies are cavorting in front of impressionable kindergarten children in today’s Woke world but, in the opera, these are heterosexual references. Surely this is the ticket for cancellation? The play which gave inspiration to the opera’s libretto had been banned in pre-revolutionary France because it promoted the wrong political ideas. This is another reason to ban the opera more than two centuries later. The only saving grace in today’s Woke world is that the page boy Cherubino is sung by a female soprano dressed as a boy. Woke music scholars are still arguing about whether Cherubino identifies as a boy or is a girl in the wrong body.
In Cosi fan tutte, Mozart needed some over-sexed bad guys and Albanians won this honour some 200 years before modern Albanian gangs created their evil European people-smuggling business. The libretto of Cosi fan tutte must be changed to make the Albanians innocent under-privileged refugees so that the opera can be performed to today’s Woke audiences. Misogyny and marital fidelity are highlighted and the aria Una donna a quindici anni shows that sex with a 15-year girl (called a woman in the opera) is quite acceptable.
In Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Turkish harems, fidelity and racism raise their ugly heads again. In order to signify that the Ottoman Turks Selim and Osmin are evil, they are given bass parts rather than tenor parts, normally reserved for the heroic good guys. Die Zauberflõte highlights racism, sexism, and class differences. The Ottoman Turk Monostatos is considering rape of the white sleeping beauty Pamina and he describes himself as black, ugly, and unable to enjoy the pleasures of the flesh with a white woman. He is painted as a despicable coward whereas the Queen of the Night is evil because, as a woman, she refuses to submit to male authority. Mozart punished her with only two arias in the opera, both of which are extraordinarily difficult. Class differences between two heterosexual couples, the low-class Papageno/Papagena and high-ranking Tamino/Pamina, show prejudice and discrimination. The unfinished obscure work Zaide stars a Sultan’s female European slave and is anti-Islam and sexual assault raises its ugly head in Idomeneo.
The Woke world would not see the context of Mozart’s operatic characters with the librettos based on old stories, all with moral overtones. Times in Europe in the late 1700s were very different from today. The world was in its normal state with no democratically elected governments. There was universal poverty and food shortages in a Little Ice Age world with massive class differences and despotic leaders ruled from their cathedrals, palaces, and farm estates. Human rights did not exist, Europe was Christian, state censorship was universal and peasants were owned and treated as beasts of burden. Death was everywhere and was a release from grinding earthly hardship with rewards in Heaven. There had been a 300-year struggle by Christian Europeans against the invading Islamic Ottomans which ended in the Siege of Vienna a hundred years before Mozart’s operas were written. The operas were written for the common man who knew of this long conflict because they were drafted as cannon fodder to do the dirty work. It’s no wonder Ottomans were portrayed as exotic and evil.
When you are in a reflective state of bliss listening to the second movement of the concerto for flute, harp, and orchestra (K299), remember that the world’s greatest composer could undergo cultural revisionism overnight because nothing is sacred to the left who willingly destroy the best of Western Civilisation and replace it with a totalitarian vacuum.
Emeritus Professor Ian Plimer’s latest book “Green Murder” was written with the ‘Elisir d’Amore’ in hand and Mozart in the ears.