'Death of Klinghoffer' to make Metropolitan Opera debut

'Death of Klinghoffer' to make Metropolitan Opera debut
The Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro heads out of Port Said, Egypt, in 1985 following a seven-day ordeal that began with its hijacking by Palestinian terrorists. (Associated Press)

Assailed as anti-Semitic and pro-Palestinian when it premiered in 1991, John Adams' "The Death of Klinghoffer" has long been an artistic hot potato that many major opera companies have found too controversial to produce.

In October, the Metropolitan Opera in New York will stage "Klinghoffer" for its first time in a co-production that was first seen at the English National Opera in 2012. The staging will be broadcast to cinemas in November as part of the Met's Live in HD series.


"Klinghoffer" will open at the Met on Oct. 20, and the live cinema broadcast is scheduled for Nov. 15 at 9:55 a.m. PST. David Robertson, music director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, will conduct.

The new Metropolitan Opera season, which was announced on Wednesday, will also feature new productions of "The Marriage of Figaro," directed by Richard Eyre; "The Merry Widow," directed by Broadway veteran Susan Stroman, in her Met debut, and starring Renee Fleming; and "Cavalleria Rusticana" and "Pagliacci," directed by David McVicar.

In addition, the Met will present its first stagings of Rossini's "La Donna del Lago" (The Lady of the Lake), starring Juan Diego Flórez, in a production seen at the Santa Fe Opera last year.

"Klinghoffer" is based on the events surrounding the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship by Palestinian terrorists. Leon Klinghoffer, a wheelchair-bound Jewish American passenger, was killed and his body was dumped overboard.

Los Angeles Opera has never presented "Klinghoffer," even though it was  one of several co-producing companies of the original staging.  
In March, Long Beach Opera will present "Klinghoffer" for the first time in its entirety in the L.A. area in a production from director James Robinson.