The protests, which began Sept. 22 at 5 PM ET, object to the production, which depicts the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship and the murder of a Jewish passenger, Leon Klinghoffer, by Palestinian terrorists.
The rally was organized by a coalition of groups including the Zionist Organization of America and included a speech by former New York Gov. George Pataki.
The Journal reports that a live broadcast of the opera was canceled in June, amid concerns that the broadcast could fan anti-Semitism. The decision followed discussions between Peter Gelb, the Met's general manager, and the Anti-Defamation League, which represented the concerns of Leon Klinghoffer's daughters, Lisa and Ilsa Klinghoffer. The Met agreed to include a message from the daughters in its Playbill and on its website during the production, which is scheduled for eight performances in October and November.
In a statement posted at the time on the Anti-Defamation League's website, the Klinghoffers said the opera romanticized the murder of their father. "We believe that theater and music can play a critical role in examining and understanding significant world events," they said. "The Death of Klinghoffer does no such thing."
"It does not glorify terrorism," Gelb told the Journal about the opera. "It's a truly great work of art that deals with a difficult subject. That doesn't disqualify it from being on our stage... I think it would be terrible for art if the Met were to suppress it." Visit MetOpera.org for more information.