Hundreds of protesters swarmed Lincoln Center on Monday night to rage against the Metropolitan Opera’s debut of The Death Of Klinghoffer, which is based on the 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro and which detractors say is anti-Semitic and glorifies terrorism. Opposition to the show was spurred by right wing sites with Ben Shapiro’s Truth Revolt leading the charge. The Death Of Klinghoffer was first performed in Belgium in 1991 and the Met’s production is winning rave reviews:
The opening moments establish tribal rivalries between Palestinians, with green flags, and Israelis, with olive trees, in separate scenarios filled with soaring choral work. It sets the stage for simmering tension that is only occasionally interrupted. Performed by a superb cast, the production is anchored by Paulo Szot, who plays the captain. He brings great emotion to the role, in trying unsuccessfully to reason with the terrorists. Sean Panikkar, Aubrey Allicock and Ryan Speedo Green sing the roles of the terrorists with great conviction. Jesse Kovarsky is truly terrifying as the terrorist who pulls the trigger. The roles of Klinghoffer and his wife, Marilyn, are played by Alan Opie, who has a meditative aria following his murder, and Michaela Martens, whose final aria is filled with anguish and loss. She has the last word, and rightly so.
The protest spawned some sharp words between Mayor De Blasio and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who joined the crowd outside Lincoln Center on Monday.
Mayor de Blasio defended the Metropolitan Opera’s right to show “The Death of Klinghoffer,” and criticized predecessor Rudy Giuliani’s protest against the controversial work. “I really think we have to be very careful in a free society to respect that cultural institutions will portray works of art, put on operas, plays, that there will be art exhibits in museum,” de Blasio said Monday at an unrelated press conference. “And in a free society we respect that. We don’t have to agree with what’s in the exhibit but we agree with the right of the artist and the cultural institution to put that forward to the public.” De Blasio hit Giuliani’s record of cracking down on art he didn’t care for. As mayor, Giuliani famously threatened to yank funding for the Brooklyn Museum over its display of an image of the Virgin Mary covered in elephant dung. “The former mayor had a history of challenging cultural institutions when he disagreed with their content. I don’t think that’s the American way. The American way is to respect freedom of speech. Simple as that,” de Blasio said.
The Met posted the below trailer on Sunday.