Because of scandal: is the MDR turning its back on the Semperoper ball?


© MDR / Martin Jehnichen
© MDR / Martin Jehnichen

A medal for the Egyptian president had brought the Semper Opera Ball out of rhythm this year. The media partner MDR had announced the consequences. What will they look like?


After the scandal over the Semper Opera Ball over an award ceremony to Egypt’s controversial president, the MDR is reviewing its commitment. The broadcaster has broadcast the event in Dresden live so far. The contract with the Semperopernball club expired in 2020, MDR spokeswoman Julia Krittian said. “Whether there can be a sequel is currently being explored.” Just six months after the ball, the talks were just beginning. “Only at the end of the talks will we see whether a viable restart concept can be implemented.”

The organizer association had awarded an order to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi before the ball in February. The award sparked outrage and protest. Two co-moderators of the ball and several artists canceled. Al-Sisi came to power after a military coup and is cracking down on opposition figures and critics.

“The discussions surrounding the Semperoper Ball 2020 harmed everyone involved,” said MDR spokeswoman Krittian. “Everyone involved is united in the knowledge that such damage should never happen again.” The broadcasting council had controversially discussed the engagement of the MDR afterwards. Among other things, the question was raised whether the transmitter should transmit the ball at all. According to the station, the transmission cost 530,000 euros.

The Semperoper Ball Association has also drawn consequences from the scandal. In future, it will no longer just be the boss Hans-Joachim Frey who will speak for the club, but a quartet. The next Semperoper ball is scheduled for February 26, 2021. According to the association, preparations are underway – taking into account the Corona hygiene requirements.

Image source:

  • MDR building: © MDR / Martin Jehnichen




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