Deutsche Oper Berlin's January 2010 production of Wagner's Rienzi had the audiences in nightly rows (reportedly at the end of every major scene!) in a controversial, provocative production by German director Philipp Stölzl. The totalitarian dictator of 14th century Rome was synthesized into a generic version of historical bad guys Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, and Ceausescu and given an updated 1930s Fascist swing. The production was chopped down to a condensed version of two hours, which was intense enough. It's early Wagner -- fun for the whole family -- and it's available on September 28.
In this production, conductor Sebastian Lang Lessing directed Torsten Kerl's Rienzi, Camilla Nylund's Irene, and Kate Aldrich's pants'o'rrific Adriano over a backdrop of WWII propoganda staples. Photo gallery here.