First responses to the Met’s decision to cancel the simulcast of the controversial opera.
Composer John Adams: ‘My opera accords great dignity to the memory of Leon and Marilyn Klinghoffer, and it roundly condemns his brutal murder. It acknowledges the dreams and the grievances of not only the Israeli but also the Palestinian people, and in no form condones or promotes violence, terrorism or anti-Semitism. The cancellation of the international telecast is a deeply regrettable decision and goes far beyond issues of ‘artistic freedom,’ and ends in promoting the same kind of intolerance that the opera’s detractors claim to be preventing.’
Alice Goodman, librettist: It’s hard to believe that the Met didn’t foresee all this and didn’t have a plan in place, as the St Louis Opera did, to handle it proactively. I foresee a great deal of pressure now to cancel the production, and wonder how the Met will respond. Cutting the number of performances?
London Barbican chief Nicholas Kenyon: ‘decision to cancel telecast of John Adams’s Death of Klinghoffer is shocking shortsighted and indefensible.’
Composer Nico Muhly: I was gonna HOST the HD of Klinghoffer. It is one of the most delicious, complicated, and wrenching operas I can think of. I encourage all of you to listen to the last seven minutes of the opera, in which Marilyn Klinghoffer confronts the captain of the Achille Lauro. Listen to how the kinetic energy at the beginning slowly melts into a landed grief with this passacaglia-like bass near 4 minutes, which itself then flips into floating strings under the most gorgeous line of the opera: “I grieve as a pregnant woman grieves / For the unseen, long-imagined son. Suffering is certain.” Solo oboe on high d! Wordless women’s chorus! Those strangz! The little recollections of the angry grief in the bassoon, flute, piano…
The whole last three minutes is one endless, slow-moving collapse into the single G she sings at the end. Yes gawd. Love this opera.
Composer Michel Van Der Aa: What we can learn from the Klinghoffer debacle at the MET is how dangerous it is to have an opera system with such a dependance on funding through donors. That generosity comes with influence. At least with a government based subsidy system that influence is less immediate and less hands on*. (*depending on the government of course)
Also really quite absurd that the decision to cancel the movie transmission was forced by someone who had not even seen the opera; Abraham H. Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League “who said he had not seen the opera, but did not believe it was anti-Semitic.”