Alex Ross: The Met’s “Klinghoffer” Problem

For a little while, it seemed as though the controversy over John Adams’s 1991 opera, “The Death of Klinghoffer”—a dramatization of the 1985 Achille Lauro hijacking, during which members of the Palestine Liberation Front murdered the Jewish-American businessman Leon Klinghoffer—was beginning to fade. When the opera was first seen in New York, at BAM, in 1991, it sparked outrage in onlookers who felt that it unduly favored the Palestinian point of view, not least because the score begins with a lamenting chorus of Palestinian exiles (“Israel laid all to waste”).

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