NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York’s Metropolitan Opera announced on Tuesday that it has cancelled its plans for a live transmission of the opera “The Death of Klinghoffer” in movie theaters because of concerns that it could fan global anti-Semitism.
The opera house made the move after an outpouring of concern about the John Adams opera about the hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship by Palestinian militants in 1985 and the killing of disabled, elderly American Jewish passenger Leon Klinghoffer.
“I’m convinced that the opera is not anti-Semitic,” Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, said in a statement. “But I’ve also become convinced that there is genuine concern in the international Jewish community that the live transmission of ‘The Death of Klinghoffer’ would be inappropriate at this time of rising anti-Semitism, particularly in Europe.”
The transmission of the opera, which premiered in 1991, had been scheduled for Nov. 15. It is part of the Met’s “Live in HD” series that shows performances in movie theaters in the United States as well as countries in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Australia.
The Met praised Adams’ work and said it would go ahead with the eight stage presentations from Oct. 20 to Nov. 15 but would include a message from Klinghoffer’s daughters on its website and in the show’s playbill.
“John Adams is one of America’s greatest composers and ‘The Death of Klinghoffer’ is one of his greatest works,” Gelb added.
The Met said it made the decision after talks with Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, representing the wishes of Klinghoffer’s daughters.
It added that earlier productions of the opera, in London, New York, St. Louis and California were performed without any problems.
Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Eric Kelsey and Lisa Shumaker