Britten’s War Requiem is cancelled due to rocket fire

Britten’s War Requiem is cancelled due to rocket fire


norman lebrecht

November 13, 2019

Last night’s Israel Phil performance of the anti-war masterpiece was called off due to a barrage of Iranian-sponsored rockets from Gaza.


What passing bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons…

The Israel Opera’s performance of Manon was also called off.

UPDATE: The Israel Phil has added a Friday lunchtime performance of the War Requiem to make up for the missing show.


  • Fritz Curzon says:

    What a real shame and your pic of Coventry is truly apt, but I also wonder what was “cancelled” in Gaza during repeated airstrikes

    • Allen says:

      “I also wonder what was “cancelled” in Gaza during repeated airstrikes”

      Rocket manufacture, perhaps?

    • ketzel says:

      The Israeli military is trying to cancel the rocket barrage coming from Gaza, aimed at Israeli civilians.

    • Hopefully Gaza was cancelled once and for all

      • V. Lind says:

        Gee. Where have we hear that kind of sentiment before?

      • Emil says:

        I’m quite appalled that Slipped Disc let this comment through. In what world is this acceptable?

        • V. Lind says:

          You know in what world. One in which Palestinians are considered less than human. The ordinary ones, just trying to make a living, get their kids to school, put meals on the table, clean the house, maybe grow some flowers in the garden.

        • Hilary says:

          On the contrary : I think it’s better that this despicable view is aired. It’s instructive for anyone following the conflict about some of the underlying sentiments, cutting through all the supposed complexities.
          As regards the BB “War Requiem” I’m with Stravinsky in his withering remarks on the piece.

    • Emilio Pons says:

      In addition to having no brain, and no idea of what you are talking about, it would seem that you also have no shame. Still: SHAME ON YOU!

      Israel has the RIGHT to defend itself from the attacks by HAMAS, the TERRORIST organization which was democratically voted into office by the population of Gaza. They are one and the same.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        Um…it is rather difficult to elect anyone other than Hamas in Gaza. Put it this way, I wouldn’t want to stand for election there if I wasn’t the Hamas candidate.

        Say what you like about Israel, but non-government candidates are not in fear of their lives when they stand for election.

  • bbrittenn says:

    Poetic justice. They missed out on hearing a fabulous work, for sure.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    My son and his wife had only hours before boarded a plane out of Israel. They dodged a bullet.

  • Martinu says:

    Been to the War Requiem twice this week – magnificent performance, of one of the greatest masterworks of the 20th century (and of all time). Yoel Levi directed (without a score) a sensitive, beautiful and touching rendering. Singers, choirs and orchestra gave their very best. Unforgettable!
    Not since Gary Bertini conducted the work in 1982 in Jerusalem (during the 1st Lebanon war) have I been so moved.
    Another performance in Friday (instead of the cancelled one). Come to Tel Aviv.

  • Roy Howitt says:

    How ironic? “Be slowly lifted up thou long black arm, Great gun towering toward heaven about to curse!”

  • Will Duffay says:

    I imagine if Israel left the occupied territories and treated Palestians as equals then the rockets would stop falling.

    • Paul Carlile says:


    • Saxon Broken says:

      It takes two to reach an agreement. It seems neither side is willing to make the compromises needed and face-down their hardliners in order to secure a lasting settlement.

      Israel would have to explicitly reject the hardline settlers’ view that the territory is theirs since it belonged to them 2000 years ago; the Palestinians would have to accept the continued existence of the Israeli state and their occupation of much land that was Palestinian 80 years ago.