Russian theatre critics are calling for the new opera production ROSENTHAL'S CHILDREN at Moscow's BOLSHOI THEATRE to be axed after claiming some scenes are "pornographic".

Lawmakers and political groups have joined reviewers in calling for the show to close after viewing scenes in which cloned composers like VERDI and MOZART are seen cavorting with prostitutes onstage.

The opera controversy began way back when theatre bosses announced the plot of the production - their first creation in 30 years - which revolves around a scientist who clones five great classical composers in the 1990s and then dies.

The musical geniuses then fall under the spell of a pimp, who poisons them.

Critics have called the state-funded production "vulgar" and "unsuitable."

Moscow lawmaker SERGEI NEVEROV, who is leading the charge to ban the show, says, "It is immoral to depict the world's greatest composers as bums who drink vodka and rub shoulders with prostitutes."

But theatre bosses are defending the show, insisting it is supposed to be hard-hitting because it aims to prove that cloning techniques are evil.

A spokesman says, "It's about contemporary life in Russia. It's set in 1993."

23/03/2005 21:35