English National Opera production comes to London Coliseum

The English National Opera is set to bring the production of The Death of Klinghoffer to the London stage this month.

The American opera, composed by John Adams, will open at the London Coliseum on Saturday February 25th and will run until Friday March 9th.

Following the massively successful productions of Adams’ Nixon in China and Doctor Atomic, The Death of Klinghoffer is expected to repeat that level of success, and may be of interest of guests staying at luxury suites in London.

This is the first time that the controversial drama has been staged in the capital. The Death of Klinghoffer revolves around the story of the killing of a Jewish-American tourist during the hijacking of a Mediterranean cruise liner by Palestinian militants.

In the prologue of the opera, there are two choruses: the Chorus of the Exiled Palestinians and the Chorus of the Exiled Jews, which reflects on the complex history of both peoples.

Act I commences with the unnamed captain of the Achille Lauro reminiscing about the events of the hijacking, which occurs in Egypt while passengers are disembarking.

As the hijackers take control of the ship, the passengers still on board are gathered in the ship’s restaurant. The narrative then switches to a Swiss grandmother who is travelling with her grandson while his parents are out touring the pyramids.

The first officer of the ship, who is given the fictitious name Giordano Bruno, informs the captain that there are terrorists on the ship and a waiter has been injured. They then both try to keep the passengers calm.

Act I ends with an encounter between Molqi, one of the hijackers and the captain, who offers to let Molqi choose food for him to eat.

The Death of Klinghoffer was first produced in Brussels and New York in 1991 and is based on the real life story of the hijacking of the passenger liner Achille Lauro by the Palestine Liberation Front in 1985.

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