Controversy Over Death of Klinghoffer Continues With Release of Family's Letter and Opening-Night Protest and Prayer Vigil

News   Controversy Over Death of Klinghoffer Continues With Release of Family's Letter and Opening-Night Protest and Prayer Vigil The controversy over the Metropolitan Opera's production of John Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer, which opens Oct. 20, continues with the release of a letter by the daughters of Leon Klinghoffer, which will be featured in the production's Playbill.

In a statement released Oct. 19 by the Anti-Defamation League, Klinghoffer's daughters Lisa and Ilsa express their opposition, saying the opera "presents false moral equivalencies without context and offers no real insight into the historical reality and senseless murder of an American Jew.

"We are strong supporters of the arts, and believe that theater and music can play a critical role in examining and understanding significant world events," they continue. "The Death of Klinghoffer does no such thing.... It rationalizes, romanticizes and legitimizes the terrorist murder of our father."

A press conference will be held Oct. 20 at 5 PM across the street from the Lincoln Center Plaza at Broadway and 65th Street. The conference, for which former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani will be the keynote speaker, will be followed by a protest of the opening-night performance of the opera.

Additional participants include Congressman Peter King, former NY Governor David Paterson, criminal defense attorney Ben Brafman, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Rabbi Joseph Potasnik.

Rabbi Avi Weiss and a group of Rabbinical leaders will hold a prayer vigil at noon at Lincoln Center Plaza at Broadway and 65th Street in memory of Leon Klinghoffer’s soul. "We have the utmost respect and sympathy for the daughters of Leon and Marilyn Klinghoffer, who have suffered an unimaginable loss as a result of their father’s murder," the Metropolitan Opera said in a statement. "We agreed without hesitation to their request that we include their own statement in the Met’s Playbill for all performances of Klinghoffer, and on our website at metopera.org."

As previously reported, 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 Klinghoffer's daughters.

The opening-night production of The Marriage of Figaro Sept. 22 saw more than 1,000 people protesting The Death of Klinghoffer. 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 Metropolitan Opera had also previously canceled a MetTalk about the opera scheduled for Oct. 15.

"It does not glorify terrorism," Peter Gelb, the Met's general manager, previously said of 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.

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