In 1838 Richard Wagner wrote his opera Rienzi, set in 14th-century Rome. When it premiered in Dresden in 1842, it became his first big success. Seventy or so years later, 17-year-old Adolf Hitler saw it and was struck dumb. His boyhood friend August Kubizek later claimed that an exultant Hitler had said: “At that hour it all began!” Though Kubizek’s testimony has been questioned, Hitler did have a copy of the manuscript of the opera, which he requested.

Justin Fleming is best known for his hugely successful Australian adaptations of Molière plays such as Tartuffe, The School for Wives, The Literatiand The Misanthrope, which Bell Shakespeare and Griffin Theatre Company are staging in August/September. He has also written many new plays including The Cobra and Burnt Piano. In his new play Dresden, Justin Fleming uses Rienzi, Wagner and Hitler in a story about creativity, destruction and the dark side of human inspiration. Dresden is directed for bAKEHOUSE Theatre Company by Suzanne Millar, who has previously directed six of Fleming’s plays including Coup d’Etat in 2011 and Mother’s Voice in 2014. Justin Flemingspoke to  Limelightabout Dresden, which stars Yalin Ozucelik as Adolf, Jeremy Waters as Richard, and Renee Lim as Cosima Wagner, the woman who...

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