Last word: But for the opera, would anyone remember Klinghoffer?

Last word: But for the opera, would anyone remember Klinghoffer?


norman lebrecht

November 27, 2014

In my latest essay for Standpoint magazine (out today), I examine the troubled genesis of an opera that has generated far more heat than light. Setting aside the political issues, there are ethical considerations that have barely been discussed.

For example:

Klinghoffer’s daughters have a case: the makers of this opera had no right to take the name of an innocent victim. Doing so showed lack of respect — worse, a lack of sympathy.

Read the full essay here.

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  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    We all need to see it before we can comment.

    • Helen Kamioner says:

      I went to see it in Brooklyn and got exactly what I expected. Rabid anti-Semitism (and I believe this opera is not Jew friendly) is simply a sport and delights the majority. Where is the drama and fun and ticket sales in presenting or producing or creating a work where Jews are portrayed, not as the anti Christ, devilish people who use blood to make matzoh, rather as a nice, normal people who have given the world most of its great literature, inventions, and general contributions to civilization. Thank you New York Times and CNN for your contributions to anti-Semitism, along with the creators of “Klinghoffer.” If you must create a piece portraying the “evil Yid”, just like the Nazi’s did in their propoganda films like Jued Suess and Der Ewige Jude, etc., why not use Bernie Madoff is a subject.

      • Christy says:

        Wow. You’re just about the only person I’ve seen with this opinion who has actually seen the opera. The Anti-Defamation League clearly stated that it wasn’t anti-Semitic. Even former Mayor Giuliani – so vitriolic before going in the door of the Met – came out hemming and hawing because he couldn’t say it was anti-Semitic.

        To each their own.

        Off to read the source article for this blog now.

        • Helen Kamioner says:

          To equate the crimes of PLO, HAMAS, etc. with Israel’s DEFENSIVE activities is clearly and obviously anti-Semitic, not to be confused with anti Zionist. Particularly in a medium such as opera. Adam’s message in using the subject of the Death of Klinghoffer to bring internation attention to the situation is clear. When was the last time you read about Jews capturing a cruise ship, and singling out a Muslin/Arab for execution just for their beliefs. And these acts repeat themselves everyday and are getting worse by the moment. And that is why Netanyahu’s decision to make Israel an official Jewish State is heaven sent. It’s not a matter of land or so called occupation, it’s pure anti-Semitism. And the shocking fact is that after Hitler, this feeling is so global.

          • Sardis says:

            Interesting perspective. Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it. This applies to Israel as well as the Palestinians. Burying your head in the sand about Israel’s crimes is not appropriate. Evil idiots do not just exist in the opponents of Israel (and I say this as a supporter of the Jewish state). It is always best not to post if you cannot reason. The opera itself is a very creditable piece of work.

  • Harold Lewis says:

    Pot, Kettle, Black, Sardis. I don’t see any reasoning in your post. And bravo, Helen, for your refreshing perspective on that discreditable piece of theatre.

  • Helen Kamioner says:

    From the Book “Jews Have Long Memories”…”The Jew’s crime is his presence. The world does not object to the idea of the Jew in an impersonal, amorphous sense, but when the Jewish persona is implanted in a body that takes up space on earth, that presence is despised. In this sense, the Jew’s greatest offense is his existence, his inherent nature. If the Jew is in exile, the world asks why he doesn’t “just leave and go back to Israel,” and when God fulfills His promise that “even if you are dispersed in the uttermost parts of the world, from there the Lord your God will gather you, from there He will fetch you,” the world then demands the Jew depart once again from his ancient homeland.” SARDIS: The time has passed when Jews allow themsleves to be led to the slaughter.

  • Edgar Brenninkmeyer says:

    I attended the November 8 performance. A great opera night? Some will say yes, others no. Anti-Semitic? Not to me. What do I take home from the experience? For now: any kind of nationalism, whether inspired by religion or ethnic history, is doomed to spawn more violence and suffering.