How to Stream ‘SEMMELWEIS,’ About Doctor Who Discovered Importance of Handwashing

By David Salazar
(Image provided by Jensen Artists)

Audiences will be able to check out the world premiere production of “SEMMELWEIS” online starting on May 2, 2020 starting at 1 p.m. ET.

The work, which was produced by the Budapest Operetta Theatre and Bartók Plusz Opera Festival, had its world premiere in 2018. It was created by American composer Raymond J. Lustig, Irish-American librettist Matthew Doherty, and Hungarian director Martin Boross.

The work takes a look at obstetrician Ignác Semmelweis, one of the champions of handwashing in the 19th century. He was often seen as an “outsider” while working in Vienna’s top hospital during a xenophobic era. Despite making a discovery that unclean hands were at the root of a deadly disease’s spread, he was stripped of his credentials and ultimately forced into an insane asylum where he would die. The opera explores much of his history as a reflection.

“There has never been a more urgent moment in history to reflect on the mystery of insight, the tension between truth and hubris, our deadly myopic inertia, and the clear truth that we as a society need our full human participation, our fresh perspectives and brave new ideas, literally to survive. My hope is that, by giving vocal expression to the Semmelweis story – not just that of the man himself, but also of the women and mothers from whom he is inseparable – we may all be inspired by his refusal to remain silent on a truth that was not merely inconvenient, but intolerable,” Lustig said in a press release.

The production can be viewed here and will be available until May 31, 2020.