I sawJohn Adams's Death of Klinghoffer
at BAM in 1991 w/otherdeb
shortly after the suicide of my roommate, Stacey. This is the sort of music I'm into, being a follower of WNYC's "New Sounds". I'd gone to several of their free concerts at the Wintergarden in what used to be the World FInancial Center pre 9/11, and that year's Labour Day tragedy preceded moving to my present home. But first, I needed to go out.
Back then, the Achille Lauro
highjacking in 1985 was still recent news, and everybody had heard of it. At the time, similar disagreements had sprung up about the opera, but no live protests. d/K was just another piece of new music, and not the best John Adams I'd ever heard. I really loved his earlier work, Nixon in China
, which I still listen to. d/K was sad and confusing, and not nearly as melodic as I would have expected. As in an opera, every line of dialogue was sung, though not very melodically in my opinion. The seats I got were Obstructed Viewing and apparently, much of the action happened up a latrge welded steel frame that played the ship. By the story's account, there was a lot of tension but I never felt it, could not see a lot of what was going on, and one of the passengers on stage level minced about and sung about how one of the Palestinians "Kept us in ciggies the whole night." But most of the post-minimalistic tonal progressions I came for were missing. The dialog of the terrorists did not make a lot of sense because their characters were not well developed and the anti-semetic diatribes were just insults.
Ourside in Lincoln Center Rudolph Giuliani
beat his big old drum about the opera glorifying terorism, and a bunch of people in wheelchairs wore signs syaing "I am Leon Klinghoffer". This was all meaningless. IN 1991, d/K left me disappointed and a littlle confused. I tried to find something to like about it, but I didn't.