The Gray Lady Regrets

The New York Times greatly regrets the decision of the Metropolitan Opera to cancel its planned global simulcast of the forthcoming presentation of the misnamed opera, “The Death of Klinghoffer” – more appropriately to have been titled “The Murder of Klinghoffer.”

In its editorial columns Friday, the Gray Lady rues the Met’s decision to skip the simulcast and limit itself to the eight live stage productions scheduled.

After complaints from Mr. Klinghoffer’s daughters and Jewish organizations, it seems, “Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, defended the decision this week, saying that the broadcasts “would be inappropriate at this time of rising anti-Semitism, particularly in Europe.”

As far as the Times is concerned, “It is, in fact, a step backward for both the Met and for Mr. Gelb. You see, it’s an artistic work, and, as the Times proclaims, “gives voice to all sides in this terrible murder.” All sides?  Well, one side is that of Leon Klinghoffer, an aged, wheelchair-bound Jewish gentleman who was taking a pleasure cruise with some of his family on the Achille Lauro.  The other side, to which the Times refers, is that of the Palestinian terrorists who hijacked the ship and, for no reason whatsoever, rolled the poor man over the side to his death.

How nice of the Times to support presenting both sides of that story. Élitist moral equivalence rears its ugly head once again.

The author, of course, is free to write about whatever he likes (what’s next, Auschwitz The Musical?) And theaters are free to choose what they produce. That doesn’t mean that an author has to write dreck, not that an opera company has to showcase it.

As it happens, the very same issue carried a full-page ad from the Metropolitan Opera outlining and whining about its terribly high operating costs. They could save a nice chunk of them by skipping the eight performances of this misbegotten opera.