Klinghoffer director: We never expected Gaza

Klinghoffer director: We never expected Gaza


norman lebrecht

October 22, 2014

The English director Tom Morris, who staged The Death of Klinghoffer at English National Opera and the Met, has given an interview today to The Hollywood Reporter about the emotions aroused by the work.

He says: Obviously we had no idea when we started planning this production that there was going to be a bitter conflict this year in Gaza. That fact that there was, [reminds us] of the underlying problems that inform and motivate the crime in The Death of Klinghoffer.

He adds: One thing that’s happening already is that people are coming to the show because they’re heard it’s interesting… rather than just because it’s an opera. When you have an opera that is able to engage publicly in that way, it’s a good thing. The quality of conversation that can happen once people have seen the production, is obviously far superior to the quality of conversation that is happening amidst the demonstrations right now. But the opera is complex — it’s not an easy-to-interpret drama. And some people will think one thing about it, and others another. It’s about to spark extraordinary conversation. But this work of art does not try to persuade an audience of any point of view; it invites an audience to think. Its value will be in the diversity of response.

Read the full interview here.



  • william osborne says:

    I agree with Morris’ comment about the value of the opera sparking an important conversation, especially after the latest Gaza offensive. I feel the cinema broadcasts would have also been beneficial.

    Both the exact number of people killed and the percentage of the dead who were civilians has been disputed, but I found some of these numbers taken from a Wiki article interesting. *I’m not interested in debating the article’s information.* It has 410 footnotes for further reading. If nothing else, the numbers point to the relevance of John Adams and Alice Goodman’s opera:

    + Between 2,000 and 2,143Gazans were killed
    + These include about 500–578 children. (I’ve seen numbers as low as 400.)
    + Between 10,895 and 11,100 Palestinians were wounded
    + 66 IDF soldiers were killed
    + 5 Israeli civilians and 1 Thai civilian were killed
    + 450 IDF soldiers and 80 Israeli civilians were wounded
    + 520,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip (approximately 30% of its population) have been displaced, of whom 485,000 needed emergency food assistance
    + 273,000 Palestinians took shelter in 90 UN-run schools.
    +17,200 Gazan homes were totally destroyed or severely damaged, and 37,650 homes have suffered damage but are still inhabitable.
    + The IDF killed 23 Palestinians in the West Bank
    + 2,218 Palestinians in the West Bank were wounded, 38% of them by live fire during protests.
    + In Israel, an estimated 5,000 to 8,000 citizens fled their homes due to the threat of rocket and mortar attacks.

    The Wiki article is here:


    In an interview on Democracy Now!, the Gaza Director for UNICEF said that about 1000 Palestinian children have received injuries that will cripple them for life. I hadn’t heard that stat anywhere else. The UNICEF Director’s observations are interesting and can be listened to or read in transcript here:

    – See more at: https://slippedisc.com/2014/08/leaked-emails-the-mets-defence-of-klinghoffer/#sthash.IkBKVXTm.dpuf

    I’ve collected about 100 photos of children from the offensive who were killed, injured, and/or deeply traumatized. Even though they could possibly be used for false purposes, I think people should look at them and consider the absurdity and horror of war. They illustrate that there will never be a military solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

    • John says:

      Thank you, Sir, for the above. You have performed a great public service.
      I fear that too many otherwise decent people keep their humanity to themselves, (esp. in the USA where Zionist propoganda is part of the polluted air one breathes)
      fearful that a reminder that Palestinians are human and as much deserving in every way
      of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as any Israeli,will cost them their livelihood.
      Lest we forget….

      • william osborne says:

        The term “Zionist” can mean many different things, and describe an extremely wide-range of worldviews and actions. Some I might oppose, but there is also much I would support.

    • Dave T says:

      You omit critical facts:
      – In the period prior to the Israeli strikes, tens of thousands of rockets were launched by Palestinians into Israel. These were not aimed at military targets, they were names at civilians (and that includes Israeli children). That would be a war crime.
      – Before and during the strikes, Hamas used schools as ammo dumps. That would be a war crime. They used hospitals as command centers. That, too, would be a war crime. They used civilian buildings (apartments, etc) as launching positions for their attacks. Yes, another war crime.
      – Hamas encouraged civilians to remain in place and NOT take shelter, sometimes under threat of force, despite Israeli warnings of imminent attack.
      Clearly much of the blame for the tragedy lies at the feet of the Palestinians and their chosen leaders, Hamas.

  • william osborne says:

    I hope at least a few readers will read this article from the paper in the little town (a sort of artist colony) in the USA where I live 4 or 5 months a year. We should always remember that it is a mistake to paint the entire Jewish community with one brush. The community harbors a wide range of views concerning the Israeli/Palestinian conflict: