Last week I went to the exhilarating English National Opera production of Wagner’s The Mastersingers — five hours of wonderful music and singing whizzed by without a moment’s boredom. But there was one odd and perturbing factor, I thought. In place of a curtain, there was a huge ‘frontcloth’. It was covered with a collage of 103 faces of well-known artists. These same faces appeared again, during the finale, this time in the form of portraits held aloft by members of the cast. They included Joseph Roth, Stefan Zweig, Sigmund Freud, Kurt Weill, Billy Wilder, Richard Tauber, Oskar Kokoschka, Hannah Arendt, Simone Weil, Lotte Lenya, Max Ernst, Marlene Dietrich. According to the opera’s director, Richard Jones, interviewed in the programme notes, they were all Germans.