Everything should be so nice, now this year's Semper Opera Ball on February 7th in Dresden threatens to end in a complete disaster. Numerous guests, laudators and even moderators have already canceled their participation. After a controversial award ceremony, the organizer responded with an apology and an adjusted schedule. But why did the planning get out of hand so brutally? An overview in seven (F) acts.
1. A severely criticized order for Al-Sisi
The organizers announced in advance that they had awarded the Egyptian President Al-Sisi (65) the so-called St. George's Order. The Semper Opera Ball boss Hans-Joachim Frey (54) even flew to Cairo specifically and personally handed over the award to the ruler there. But this decision caused massive criticism. After all, Al-Sisi describes many as dictators who are said to have committed serious human rights violations. The human rights organization Amnesty International even speaks of severe abuse of its unlawful prisoners.
2. SemperObernball rolls backwards
After the outcry, Frey immediately apologized in a statement. Take the criticism and the arguments very seriously. "We are aware of the irritation that has arisen and we deeply regret it," the statement said. The award was a mistake, you would like to apologize and distance yourself. The two planned moderators, Judith Rakers and Roland Kaiser, also spoke up and announced that they would reconsider their commitment.
3. Judith Rakers cancels her moderation
Although Roland Kaiser (67) decided to keep his promise, Judith Rakers (44) asked to terminate the contract. In a tweet, she initially explained that a cultural event had become a political one and was considering taking consequences. A little later she explained via Instagram that she waived all fees and that the ball club had complied with her request: "With this, I consider the process to be complete."
4. Substitute moderator Mareile Höppner also jumps out
Just a few hours after Rakers' withdrawal, Mareile Höppner (42) was introduced as a replacement. There was a lot of hustle and bustle, Höppner is quoted in a statement, but everyone would have learned from it. However, her confidence lasted only a few hours: via Instagram, she also withdrew her promise. She was the target of hatred and hostility, and no stop was made even in front of her child. But Frey also got his fat: "I expect the person responsible for the ball to finally make a statement."
5. Uli Hoeneß and Dietmar Hopp don't come
SAP founder Dietmar Hopp (79) also canceled his arrival a few days after the moderator disaster. The Hoffenheim patron was supposed to be presented with an order on site. A week earlier, he said soothing and said that he accepted the price on the apology despite the controversy. His friend Uli Hoeneß (68) was supposed to take over the laudation, but after Hopp's cancellation, the ex-president of FC Bayern Munich will not appear in Dresden.
6. The MDR is still transmitted
The Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR), on the other hand, announced that it was sticking to the TV broadcast. In a previously published statement, entertainment chief Peter Dreckmann explained his lack of understanding of the Al-Sisi decision. You think this honor is wrong, expressly distance yourself from it. "The MDR stands for free and independent journalism, freedom of expression and tolerance. Unfortunately, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi does not stand for exactly that," said Dreckmann. Nevertheless, the ball is a ball for people: "Many Dresdeners are proud of the event."
7. Process has since been changed
Despite numerous requests online to end the drama prematurely and to cancel the ball without further ado, the makers stick to it. However, the SemperOpern bosses have now reacted and changed the program planning. The ball club therefore refrains from awarding further St. Georg orders. This is done out of respect for the many discussions in recent days and to be able to think about future decisions in peace. The concept had been revised, but a cancellation was out of the question.