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John Adams's "The Death of Klinghoffer" Given an “Absorbing and Provocative Production" (Times) by ENO

John Adams, "The Death of Klinghoffer" [cover]

John Adams's opera The Death of Klinghoffer, a retelling of the 1985 Achille Lauro hijacking and the killing of a Jewish-American tourist by Palestinian militants, featuring a libretto by Alice Goodman, received its long-awaited London premiere by the English National Opera this past weekend. The production, led by conductor Baldur Brönniman and award-winning director Tom Morris (making his opera directing debut) has received tremendous attention in the British press.

The Times of London gives the piece a four-star review and calls the opera "a serious work of art" and the production "absorbing and provocative." In a four-star review of the production, the Guardian calls it “a major achievement,” citing “the sheer beauty of so much of Adams's score, with its dark-hued sonorities, chromatically inflected harmonies and keening instrumental lines.” Read the review at In an editorial in the same paper, The Death of Klinghoffer is described as “a serious, beautiful and nuanced work that engages with one of the intractable tragedies of our era,” also available at

In another four-star review, The Telegraph calls the “confident and unpretentious new production” full of “glorious music, especially in the gravely beautiful choruses, and the delicate orchestration is cleanly delineated under Baldur Brönnimann’s gentle baton.” Read more here. The Financial Times, in their own four-star review, refers to The Death of Klinghoffer as “an opera that nags at the mind long afterwards … a masterful score and Adams at his best.” Read more here. The Evening Standard calls The Death of Klinghoffer “a brave and important work tackling one of the most intractable issues of contemporary world politics and it's difficult to imagine it much better done.”

BBC Radio 4’s show Front Row ran a piece about The Death of Klinghoffer today; you can listen to it here. Additionally, BBC Radio 4’s Today also has a feature about the opera; listen to it here.

The Death of Klinghoffer runs through March 9. For more information, visit


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