KLINGHOFFER Anti-Censorship Statement Gains New Co-signer
The National Coalition Against Censorship has added a new co-signer to its statement (read online) opposing the Metropolitan Opera's cancellation of live, high-definition screenings of John Adams' opera, The Death of Klinghoffer, to 65 countries. The International Committee for Artists' Freedom has joined as a co-signer, adding to the National Opera Association, Article 19, The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund, Free Expression Policy Project, freeDimensional, Freemuse, and PEN American Center. The statement urges the Metropolitan and its director, Peter Gelb, to reconsider and proceed with the scheduled simulcast. The list of organizations joining the statement is expected to continue growing.
Discussion of the incident has continued globally on social media, with links to NCAC's joint statement having been tweeted by San Francisco Symphony Resident Conductor Donato Cabrera, New York Times classical music and dance reporter Michael Cooper, Opera Theatre of Montclair General Director Mia Riker-Norrie, and the acclaimed NYC-based Performance Space 122.
The Death of Klinghoffer, written in 1991 and based on real events, addresses political issues which remain as urgent today as they were at the time of its writing: terrorism and the conflict in the Middle East. The opera has been criticized many times by both Jewish and Palestinian organizations, with each side claiming that The Death of Klinghoffer was biased against it.
The organizations oppose the Metropolitan Opera's decision stating that: "Cultural institutions can play a crucial role in promoting understanding and peaceful dialogue in a world of conflict, but only if they stand up to pressure groups from all sides. If they don't, they are likely to become either irrelevant or a tool in the hands of competing political interests."
According to NCAC Director of Programs Svetlana Mintcheva, "what the Metropolitan Opera may consider a compromise - to proceed with the production but severely limit its exposure - is ill-considered and counterproductive. It is unlikely to appease the Opera's critics, while it will discredit this revered cultural institution worldwide and invite future requests to suppress controversial works."