On 25 February, ENO stages the London premiere of The Death of Klinghoffer by John Adams. A powerful and arresting opera from one of the world’s greatest living composers, directed by Warhorse’s Tom Morris. Based on the hijacking of the cruise liner Achille Lauro, and resulting in the death of Leon Klinghoffer, a Jewish-American passenger, The Death of Klinghoffer is a theatrical presentation of an event that dominated the world’s headlines and became a defining moment in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The opera is a captivating response to the 1985 hijack, it even-handedly explores religious tolerance, displacement and exile. It does this through poignant lyrical choruses interspersed with dramatically etched moments of fear and fury as the hijack reaches an increasingly violent and tragic conclusion.
This debate explores the complex role of the arts in illuminating contemporary events touching on the relevance of opera today and ENO’s role in bringing fresh, modern work to the London stage and extending the boundaries of theatre.
Chaired by Christopher Cook, a broadcaster and journalist. His work can be found in places such as the Guardian and the New Statesman, as well as on BBC radio. His current academic work includes positions at Syracuse University, London Centre and American University (London Programme).
Will Self, commentator and author. His many books include The Quantity Theory of Insanity, Grey Area, Cock & Bull, My Idea of Fun, Junk Mail, The Sweet Smell of Psychosis, Great Apes, Tough, Tough Toys for Tough, Tough Boys, Dorian, How the Dead Live, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel of the Year 2002, The Book of Dave, Psychogeography, Psycho Too, and The Butt.
Dimi Reider, an Israeli journalist and blogger. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Foreign Policy, The Guardian, Haaretz, and the Jerusalem Post. He’s also contributing editor and co-founder at +972 Magazine, a publication by prominent Israeli and Palestinian bloggers.
Baldur Brönnimann, regularly conducts the major orchestras and new music ensembles around the world and is now increasingly sought after in the opera house. Renowned for his mastery of complex contemporary scores, he is held in the highest regard by many of today’s foremost composers. In 2008 he was appointed Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia, and in 2011 he was announced as the new Artistic Director of Norway’s BIT20 Ensemble. In December 2010 he caught the headlines across the world when he travelled to the Middle East to conduct the newly-formed Palestine National Orchestra in Ramallah, Jerusalem and Haifa. Brönnimann is conducting the London premiere of John Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer at English National Opera, directed by Tom Morris.