Metropolitan Opera cancels Klinghoffer screenings

Worldwide broadcasts cancelled amid fears of anti-Semitism

BBC Music Magazine news
Published: June 18, 2014 at 10:22 am

The Metropolitan Opera has decided to cancel a proposed worldwide simulcast of John Adams’ opera The Death of Klinghoffer amid fears that it will be used abroad to stir anti-Semitic and anti-Israel tensions.


The decision was made following discussions between the Met and the Anti-Defamation League, who were representing the Klinghoffer family.

The Death of Klinghoffer is based on the hijacking of cruise liner Achille Lauro by the Palestine Liberation Front in 1985 and the subsequent murder of disabled Jewish passenger Leon Klinghoffer.

General Manager of the Met, Peter Gelb, has said ‘I’m convinced that the opera is not anti-Semitic, but I’ve also become convinced that there is a genuine concern in the international Jewish community that the live transmission of The Death of Klinghoffer would be inappropriate at this time of rising anti-Semitism, particularly in Europe.’

Despite this, the daughters of Leon and Marilyn Klinghoffer, Lisa and Ilsa, denounced the opera after seeing it in 1991, describing it as anti-Semitic and on Tuesday stated that they believed it attempted to rationalise and legitimise their father’s murder.

The opera is still being staged on the 20 October, though its place in the Met’s Live in HD series will be taken by another opera to be announced in the near future.

John Adams has voiced his disappointment with the decision, saying ‘My opera accords great dignity to the memory of Leon and Marilyn Klinghoffer, and it roundly condemns his brutal murder.'

'It in no form condones or promotes violence, terrorism or anti-Semitism,' he added.


Jamie Maule

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