NEW YORK is a tough town. An unpredictable one, too. The city has hosted any number of musical dramas that brim with controversy, courtesy of John Adams, an American composer, and Peter Sellars, an American theatre director. One humanised Richard Nixon, a Republican President with a tarnished reputation; another considered the life of Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atom bomb. Both of these operas and others earned polite applause from audiences and indifferent shrugs from nearly everyone else. On Monday night, however, the Metropolitan Opera in New York presented “The Death of Klinghoffer”, a new production of an opera first staged in 1991, with a score from Mr Adams, original direction from Mr Sellars and a libretto by Alice Goodman. The show is about a self-made man from Manhattan’s Lower East Side who makes a fateful voyage on an Italian cruise ship in 1985. Now everyone is up in arms.
The opera takes its name from one Leon Klinghoffer, a successful appliance manufacturer who took his ailing wife of 36 years on a Mediterranean cruise in 1985. The Klinghoffers had the misfortune of boarding the Achille Lauro, along with hundreds...Continue reading