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John Adams on “The Death of Klinghoffer”

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Item Type: Sound Recording Duration: 8 min
Event Type: Interview Program Origin: KPFA

In a short excerpt from a interview recorded in 1991, Charles Amirkhanian talks with composer John Adams about his opera, “The Death of Klinghoffer”. Adams defends his choice to dramatize the hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro by Palestinian terrorists and the subsequent murder of a disabled American, Leon Klinghoffer. Criticized at the time of its debut in San Francisco for romanticizing terrorism, or simply for using an episode from contemporary history and thus being inappropriate subject matter for an opera, “The Death of Klinghoffer” has also been defended for its exploration of the motivations of terrorist acts while clearly condemning them for their senseless violence against innocents. Adams touches upon all these issues as well as commenting on Peter Sellers sparse staging of the opera, and the possible confusion that might arise when using one vocalist to perform several roles with minimal costume changes.

Genre:  Opera
Subject:  Adams, John, 1947-; Klinghoffer, Leon; Goodman, Alice; Sellars, Peter; Opera
People:  Amirkhanian, Charles; Adams, John, 1947-
Recording Date:  2/18/1991
 
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