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‘Klinghoffer’ Composer Responds
to Met’s Decision

New York Times, by Michael Cooper

Original Article

Posted By:jond, 6/20/2014 2:47:47 AM

John Adams said he learned that the Metropolitan Opera was scrapping plans to transmit his opera “The Death of Klinghoffer” to movie theaters around the world when the Met’s general manager, Peter Gelb, told him on Sunday by telephone that he had gotten “unimaginable pressure” from some Jewish groups that oppose the work. “I asked Peter if, before summarily canceling this, he would open it up to some kind of a public dialogue,” Mr. Adams recalled on Tuesday, in his first interview since the Met announced that it was dropping the opera, scheduled to appear this fall on its popular “Live

Comments:
Saw the premier in S.F. in 1991, own the CDs, have listened many times. Its astounding that people consider it anti-Semitic. It can be criticized for many things, but that´s not one of them.

      


Post Reply  

Reply 1 - Posted by: DaddyO, 6/20/2014 6:16:01 AM     (No. 9893105)

Um, really? Did you actually watch the play? From the Simon Wiesenthal Center:

The first act sings of how “My father’s house was razed in 1948, when the Israelis passed over our street,” against a backdrop of graffiti daubed on a concrete wall, intriguingly proclaiming “Warsaw 1943, Bethlehem 2005.”

Enter the exiled Jews, all in kippot and headscarves, passively planting trees on the allegedly usurped land.

In the second act, a Palestinian woman — presented as Abraham’s slave/concubine Hagar — sings to her son, Ishmael, agonizing that he, the scion of the Arab people, was apparently born on the wrong side of the blanket. Whereupon, she morphs into a spiteful “Um Jihad,” urging her hijacker son to wreak vengeance on the conflated image of his half-brother Isaac — the first generic Jew available to kill:

"Do not grow old in years like those Jews,
My heart will break if you do not walk in Paradise within two days."
After a frenzied dance, the psychotic young terrorist shoots the helpless wheelchair-bound Klinghoffer in the back, as a ritualized execution.

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Reply 2 - Posted by: jond, 6/20/2014 8:56:53 AM     (No. 9893273)

It´s an opera, not a play.

Saw it, as I said, with full orchestra, costumes, dancing (traditionally a part of opera, though not a requirement), lighting, staging and, of course, singing.

Presenting Klinghoffer´s killers as deranged individuals motivated by an overwrought and cultivated sense of grievance does not strike me as anti-Semitic.

Klinghoffer´s courage in confronting his tormentors is presented in marked contrast to some of the other hostages´ petty concerns for their comforts. Rather a good analogy for conditions in Israel and the EU today, IMHO.

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Reply 3 - Posted by: jond, 6/20/2014 11:07:29 AM     (No. 9893439)

Since the opera premiered in 1991, the 2005 graffiti was probably a feature of that production.

For the Wiesenthal center to go to the trouble of producing an opera (they are huge, expensive undertakings) to illustrate a recent example of anti-Semitism makes no sense.

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