Met flunks out of Klinghoffer simulcast

Met flunks out of Klinghoffer simulcast


norman lebrecht

June 17, 2014

Peter Gelb said hundreds of emails had persuaded him that a Met broadcast of John Adams’s opera The Death of Klinghoffer might be seen as promoting anti-semitism. The opera shows the murder of a disabled US citizen by Palestinian hijackers.

Gelb said he did not want to be seen doing anything ‘that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as pro-terrorist.’ He did not, however, believe the opera was antisemitic and there will be eight performances of Klinghoffer at the Met in September and October.

The decision to cancel the simulcast is a direct response to an outcry by Jewish groups and tabloid newspapers. It suggests the Met lacks the courage of its artistic convictions in staging the controversial opera.

The Death of Klinghoffer

First reactions here:



  • Ian Pace says:

    ‘Gelb said he did not want to be seen doing anything ‘that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as pro-terrorist.’

    We are not going to see any productions of Helmut Lachenmann’s Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern (which includes texts by Gudrun Ensslin) soon at the Met then, clearly.

  • sdReader says:

    It suggests the Met has been in three states of mind:

    1. Perform and simulcast Klinghoffer — the first plan
    2. Perform but don’t simulcast Klinghoffer — the new plan
    3. Don’t perform or simulcast Klinghoffer while not reaching agreement with the unions — the real plan

    Sorry to be cynical.

  • Edgar Brenninkmeyer says:

    I concur with Ian Pace, and understand the cynicism of SDreader (as a Met strike is indeed a real possibility, absent miraculous mutual understanding among all involved parties). That said, I totally agree with John Adams’ statement (thanks, Norman, for the link). Those who do not want to hear and see this opera, either at the Met or via simulcast, have the choice not to do so. Those who do want to see and hear it, but cannot because they are unable to go to the Met for whatever reason, are now successfully deprived of the opportunity to experience the piece via simulcast and form their own opinion afterward. Peter Gelb caved, and this, in my opinion, is not the appropriate thing to do (to say it charitably). Not a good day for the performing arts in general, the Met, and the democratic and free society. I, for one, will look for an opportunity to travel to New York and attend a performance – I hope I can, if only to make the point I laid out here in writing: to see and hear for myself, and then come to my own conclusion about whether Adams’ opera is anti-semitic, or encouraging anti-semitism, or not.

  • harold braun says:

    As a jew,i can nothing but express my disgust at the MET´s cowardly,and completely unfounded and unreasonable decision.
    @ian pace:Mr.Adams and Mrs,Goodman´s work is a masterpiece.The real reason for the MET not performing Mr.Lachenmanns piece is because it is some lousy ,pretentious bit of german would be avantgarde amateurish crap.Let´s not confuse music and politics!

    • Brian says:

      Thank you for your comment, Mr Braun.

      And I trust the MET decides to be consistent by never again performing any Wagner! (Not that I’d mind that, but that’s another story.)

  • David Boxwell says:

    Penny Woolcock’s superb film version has been in circulation for more than a decade and has never been the inspiration for a terrorist attack or been considered “pro-terrorist.” Why would a second film experience be different?

  • Mara Cohen says:

    Indeed, why not make the murder of an elderly disabled man on vacation an opportunity to peddle this obscene abortion of pathetically transparent anti-semitic drivel. I am so glad regarding this decision, though of course, I don’t think this has gone far enough. May I recommend to the “Artists” involved, the subject matter of Hamas dragging young Arabs who oppose their rule to death behind motorcycles, or perhaps the intriguing sight of a young woman murdered by her Father and Brothers, in the exquisite cultural exposition of an Honor Killing…I must say, the sight of which the composer and librettist would truly inspired by, if the murder of an old man is all it took for them to so amazingly productive. However, there are some things that no matter how technically well done, should simply be flushed with all the other sh-t.