Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014
When I see the headline for an article about police barricades and public protests, what I don’t expect to see next is a picture of an opera at the Met. However, this article outlines the controversy surrounding the current offering at Lincoln Center.
I’m honestly not sure what the piece, entitled ‘Klinghoffer’, is about because the article seems more interested in the hubbub surrounding it’s performance than in the work’s merit as a piece of theater. What I do know is that a lot of people are very angry that the show centers around the murder of an American Jewish man on a cruise ship by the PLO (which, when I type it, sounds like maybe the last thing I would ever want to see, ever). The groups that are upset are primarily Jewish groups angry that the play distorts the facts of the event and seems to give equal moral weight to the terrorists who committed the murder.
Full disclosure: I’m Jewish, and I would not want to see this piece. I, in fact, cannot conceive of a reason why anyone would want to. The article points out that the music is quite beautiful, but that the libretto is the troublesome area. And while I would never go see this Opera, I do feel that it is important for it to be produced. We cannot just have freedom of speech when it’s comfortable – and the arts are a wonderful and vital way of illuminating uncomfortable areas in our cultural psyche. It is the perfect tool for displaying the crux and important of our right to freedom of speech, and one of the reasons why the Arts are vital to the existence of any peoples.
But maybe that’s just because I’m an artist. What do you all think?