European classical composer from the 1927 German opera Jonny spielt auf by Ernst Krenek. This titillating slice of modernity was held up by the Nazis as a prime example of "degenerate art."
Max represents the old culture, and title character Jonny, a jazz musician, the new. The opera is a sort of metaphoric conflict between European classical music and modern American Jazz.
Max's love interest is opera singer Anita.