‘Klinghoffer’ drained of its outrage
Changing times may be the cause. And static staging undermined the opera’s local premiere.
By Daniel Webster [Philadelphia Inquirer, 21 Feb 05]
For The Inquirer
Time stands quite still in John Adams’ opera The Death of Klinghoffer.
The pulsing orchestra, the explanatory choruses, the shifting viewpoints, and, above all, the tacit understanding that the events of 20 years ago are being replicated now with no measurable change give the work the feeling of complete stasis.
The Curtis Opera Theatre, with David Hayes conducting, presented the piece in its local premiere – in partial staging – Friday at Perelman Theater. It was the only performance.
Since it was first performed in 1991, the opera has been vilified for seeming to support the Palestinians who hijacked the cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985. It was an early act of terrorism that angered, but also paralyzed, world opinion. In the course of the hijacking, an American, wheelchair-bound Leon Klinghoffer, was shot and his body dumped over the side with his wheelchair.
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