Tonight, the opening night of the Metropolitan Opera’s season, several Jewish groups and notable supporters have turned out to protest the company’s staging of the controversial The Death Of Klinghoffer. The NYT reports:
Several Jewish groups are planning a protest outside the Met [on opening night] to call on the company to cancel its performances of John Adams’s 1991 opera, “The Death of Klinghoffer,” which is set to have its Met premiere next month. […]
The “Klinghoffer” protests have been brewing for months. In June, Peter Gelb, the general manager of the Met, scrapped plans to transmit “Klinghoffer” live to movie theaters around the world this fall after Jewish groups raised objections to the opera, which depicts a 1985 cruise ship hijacking by members of the Palestine Liberation Front, and the killing of a disabled Jewish American passenger, Leon Klinghoffer. Now some groups want the opera canceled altogether.
Rabbi Avi Weiss, of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, in the Bronx, led a small group in prayers for Mr. Klinghoffer on Monday morning in a small park across from Lincoln Center. […] “I truly believe that his soul is being desecrated by the Met,” he said. “It’s being desecrated, and we’re out here, outdoors, to study Torah, to offer prayers in his memory to sanctify his soul.”
According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, former NY Governor George Pataki and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey will participate, and a letter written by the father of Daniel Pearl will be read at the protests.For more background on this opera, which includes blatantly anti-Semitic rhetoric spouted by terrorists who are portrayed semi-sympathetically, see Eve Epstein’s trenchant essay on the subject for TAI. As she puts it:
In The Death of Klinghoffer, propaganda masquerades as artistic expression. This so-called musical masterpiece flirts with incitement to violence and traffics in hate speech, while terrorism is romanticized. An alarm must be sounded loudly and clearly enough to pierce all moral obfuscation.Met Opera sponsors such as Bloomberg, the Toll Brothers, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Neubauer Family Foundation, should not wish to be associated with such a morally bankrupt production.
Read the whole thing here.