German opera house fires director who smeared dog poo in critic’s face

BERLIN (Reuters) – The German opera house whose ballet director smeared dog excrement on the face of a critic prompting a police investigation has parted ways with the man with immediate effect.

“Marco Goecke’s irresponsible actions have deeply unsettled the audience, irritated the public, violated all the principles of the house and massively damaged the reputation of the Hanover State Opera,” the theatre said in a statement.

Goecke, who was the opera house’s chief choreographer, admitted as much to management, the statement said, adding that both sides had mutually agreed to end the director’s contract.

Hanover State Opera had already suspended Goecke after he attacked Wiebke Huester, a dance critic for the FAZ newspaper, who was attending the Saturday night premiere of the ballet “Glaube – Liebe – Hoffnung” (Faith – Love – Hope).

During the interval, Goecke confronted Huester in the theatre’s crowded foyer before wiping the contents of a bag of faeces in her face, German media reported.

Goecke is under criminal investigation for suspected bodily harm and verbal abuse, a spokesperson for Hanover police said.

The Hanover State Opera said in its statement it distinguished between Goecke the employee and Goecke the choreographer, adding that reruns of his ballets would still feature on its programme in future.

(Reporting by Rachel More; Editing by Nick Macfie)