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One of Germany’s most respected choreographers has thrown dog faeces on the face of a critic after she said his latest work would kill audiences due to “boredom”. Ballet director Marco Goecke went after Wiebke Hüster during the break at Hannover Opera on Saturday night and threatened to throw her out of the building.

Ms Hüster, a critic for the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper, said that he accused her of writing libellous attacks on artists.

After becoming angered, he pulled a paper bag full of dog excrement from his pocket and smeared it across her face.

He then turned around and left the building through the packed foyer.

Ms Hüster said that she had seen Mr Goecke with his pet dachshund before the start of the performance.

“When I realised what he was doing I screamed,” she said, adding that the assault was “premeditated”.

The opera house has confirmed that the incident occurred and that dog excrement was involved.

Ms Hüster said that she immediately left the building and travelled to the nearest police station where she filed a criminal complaint.

Mr Goecke, 49, is one of Germany’s best known choreographers and was last year awarded the German Dance Prize, the most prestigious award in the country’s ballet scene.

He appears to have taken umbrage at a review Mr Hüster wrote of his most recent work, In the Dutch Mountains, which she described as “an embarrassment and an impertinence”.

Ms Hüster remarked that the performance, which was inspired by hours staring at the ocean at a seaside hotel, would “both drive you mad and make you die of boredom”.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has described the assault as an attack on press freedom.

The incident shows that the ballet director “thinks he is above all critical judgement and, in case of doubt, can prove himself right by using violence”, the newspaper wrote.

The opera house said that it immediately apologised, adding that the attack contradicted the house’s values of “respectful interaction and dialogue”.

Artistic director Laura Berman said that they would now consider whether to take disciplinary action against Mr Goecke.

According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine, this is just the latest in a string of incidents which demonstrate a growing tendency among artists and actors to intimidate critics.

Karin Beier, the director of Hamburg’s Playhouse, recently described critics as “s— on the sleeve of art,” the newspaper noted.

Last summer, an actor with a Berlin theatre threatened one critic that “your time is over, darling”.

Germany’s journalists’ union reacted by saying that: “An artist must endure criticism, even if it may seem excessive. Anyone who reacts to criticism with violence is not acceptable.”

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