Israeli settlers whip up anti-Klinghoffer Met demo

Israeli settlers whip up anti-Klinghoffer Met demo


norman lebrecht

September 12, 2014

An alleged ‘coalition’ of Jewish groups are planning a demo near the Metropolitan Opera to protest against the Sept. 22 staging of John Adams’ opera The Death of Klinghoffer, which they consider to be anti-semitic.

The news is net-blasted by Arutz Sheva, propaganda outlet of West Bank settlers.

Read here. Treat with care.





  • Jeffrey E. Salzberg says:

    Without addressing the merits of the opera, which I have neither seen nor worked on, I’ll point out that Klinghoffer, and elderly man in a wheelchair, was killed by the terrorists who hijacked the Achille Lauro not because he was Israeli (he wasn’t), but because he was Jewish.

    • Will Duffay says:

      Indeed. And apparently the prejudices of the terrorists are held up for scrutiny by the libretto. There is a mistaken belief that the opera is sympathetic to the terrorists, which is not the case.

      • James Inverne says:

        Up to a point, it is sympathetic to them. It simply considers that the killing was a step too far. Not advocating censorship, incidentally, but whether the authors intended this or not, there is no doubt about it when you look at the text.

  • John says:

    The opera staged at the Met on 22 September (the day of the protest) will be Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. Klinghoffer doesn’t open until late October,

    • Neil McGowan says:

      Le Nozze di Figaro

      Presumably a ‘coalition’ of counts, music-masters, and notaries will be gathering on 22nd to protest Da Ponte’s wretched caricatures of their statuses too?

      “Bring back le droit de seigneur” and similar progressive demands…

  • Brian says:

    They’re using the higher visibility of the opening night gala to get their message out; the opera itself doesn’t open until later in October.

    Of course, whether any of these folks have seen the opera, listened to a recording or studied the score/libretto is doubtful.

    • Edgar Brenninkmeyer says:

      “Of course, whether any of these folks have seen the opera, listened to a recording or studied the score/libretto is doubtful.” I would go further and say that none of these folks have had any experience of the opera. Their actions are as fanatic as the actions of any fanatical fringe group. They should be allowed to demonstrate on Opening Night, while those going into the opera house to hear Nozze shall be allowed to completely ignore them. There is, imho, another aspect to this, and that is that the Met has utterly failed to prepare for this opera in the way St. Louis Opera has done: through outreach, education, and debate well before the curtain goes up. It is simply not enough to have a HD transmission – which is now called off after much heat against it. It is astounding how the Met can allow itself to display such a staggering amount of insensitivity and utter lack of intellectual depth and curiosity, especially since it must have known for a very considerable time that The Death of Klinghoffer raises plenty of relevant thorny questions not only about the Irsaeli/Palestinian conflict, but human conflict at large.

      • John Borstlap says:

        Listening to the video for the St Louis production:

        makes clear what a nonsensical work this is. First, whatever music can be heard, is not very interesting at all but merely the usual mix of Adams-clichées, tinted everywhere with kitsch, without being expressive (the jumping ‘lines’ of the parts for the singers don’t get any real emotion across ins pite of the singers’ efforts); second, all the hoolabaloo about the subject touching people’s suggested sensitive nerves, frustrations, anger, or indignation, is ‘calmed’ with reassuring lectures about how important it is to contemplate the seriousness of the theme…. as if without this opera, people would remain in utter darkness. As for information about the grave implications of contemporary terrorist threats, this work is utterly superfluous: the media and the news are saturated with such stuff. An opera is supposed to be a work of art, and any subject stemming from real life has to be transformed, stylized, made universal, so that its qualities (if there are any) will survive the passing of time. This has been the reason that many of operas from the past can be experienced today, works in which we can recognize the timeless – because universal – aspects of the human condition. An opera so closely related to hard-core news and its direct thematic sensations, fails to digest the material and thus will inevitably sink into oblivion with the passing of time.

        I feel very, very sorry for mr Klinghoffer to have been made the subject of such misconceived cultural product.

  • Yehuda says:

    May this old Jew say that once upon a time an antisemite was anyone who didn’t like Jews.
    Nowadays an antisemite is anyone Jews don’t like. And we want to be respected as we are? Stark raving mad.

    • Jeffrey E. Salzberg says:

      Many anti-semites adopt Jewish-sounding screen names and even claim to be Jews, thinking that it’s a beard behind which they can spew their antisemitism, and that we’ll all be too stupid to know what they’re doing.

    • James Inverne says:

      With respect, what an odd thing to say. I know many Jews (and non-Jews) who disagree with Klinghoffer’s moral positioning (or for that matter the insensitivity to Klinghoffer’s own family) but would never call it anti-Semitic. My own view is that the librettist got carried away and went too far, but it remains morally problematic. I like plenty of Adams’s other work and the same, again, goes for plenty of Jews. Meanwhile there are sadly plenty of countries which do have anti-Semitic policies and would never welcome a work by a Jewish composer like, say, Steve Reich.

      • Jeffrey E. Salzberg says:

        As do I, but they address the specifics of the policies they oppose; they don’t use their “Jewishness” as an excuse to make derogatory generalizations about Jews.

        Trust me; it’s a well-known tactic.

        • James Inverne says:

          Sorry Jeffrey, just in case it wasn’t clear, my reply was directed at the original post, not at your first reply… All the best, James

  • John Borstlap says:

    If a composer needs an attention-grabbing subject that is sure to wind-up people about things that have nothing to do with his music, the suspicion is raised that he is quite insecure that without such sensationalist sidetracks and political flag waving, his work would survive artistic assessment.