The Death of Klinghoffer
Composer: John Adams
Librettist: Alice Goodman
Other Artistic Personnel: Kent Nagano, Conductor
Original Cast: Captain of the Archille Lauro, James Maddalena
Klinghoffer/Harry Rumor, Sanford Sylvan
Mamoud, Eugene Perry
Alma Rumor/Omar, Stephanie Friedman
Jonathan Rumor/Molqi, Thomas Young
Swiss Grandmother/Austrian Woman, Janice Felty
First Officer/Rambo, Thomas Hammons
Marilyn Klinghoffer, Sheila Nadler
Premiere Date: March 19, 1991
Producing Company: Theatre Royal de la Monnaie
Description: The cruise liner Achille Lauro has been hijacked by four Palestinian men. A waiter has been shot, the ship's engines have been shut down, and the first officer has a gun pointed at his head. The Captain encourages the passengers, Americans, Britons, and Jews, to remain calm. The Captain is guarded on the bridge by Mamoud, who sings of his memories. The ship awaits permission to dock at the Syrian port of Tartus. The passengers have been moved to a platform where a helicopter might be able to land. Leon Klinghoffer, an American Jew, is confined to a wheelchair and is unable to be lifted onto the platform. Omar, another Palestinian, invokes the holy death he longs for. To emphasize the seriousness of their claims, the Palestinians shoot Klinghoffer and throw his body over the side of the ship. The Captain informs the authorities of the death and the possibility of further deaths of hostages. Molqi decides that no further killing is necessary, and negotiations with authorities commence. It is agreed that the ship will proceed to Alexandria, where the Palestinians will be allowed to disembark. The Captain informs Mrs. Klinghoffer of her husband's death.
Character List (Major): The Captain (bar)
Mamoud (bar)
Leon Klinghoffer (bar)
Marilyn Klinghoffer (con)
Character List (Minor): The First Officer (bb)
Rambo (bb)
Molqi (t)
Swiss Grandmother (mz)
Austrian Woman (mz)
British Dancing Girl (mz)
Omar (mz)
Reviews: The New Republic, Leon Wieseltier, 9-30-91; The New Yorker, Andrew Porter, 9-30-91; The New York Times Magazine, Nancy Malitz, 8-25-91; Opera News, Patrick J. Smith, 6-91; Newsweek, Katrine Ames, 4-1-91; Time, Michael Walsh, 4-1-91; The Bulletin, Marcel Croes, 3-28-91; The Washington Post, Peter Catalano, 3-21-91; The New York Times, John Rockwell, 3-21-91; Financial Times, Max Loppert, 3-21-91; Opera News, Patrick J. Smith, 3-16-91; La Libre Belgique, Thierry Lassence, 3-13-91; Tempo, no. 167, 12-88
Length: 02:20
Total Acts: 2
Chorus: SATB, minimum 24
Orchestration: 2 fl(2 picc), 2 ob(Eng Hrn), 2 cl(bcl), 2 bsn(dbn) - 2 hrn, 2 tpt, 2 tbn - perc - KAT MIDI mallet controller - timp - 3 kbd samlers - str(8 vln1, 8 vln2, 6 vla, 6 vc, 4 db)
Ballet/Dance: Dancers
Musical Style: Neo-romantic lyricism; neo-minimalist; some acerbic harmonies; conventional and electronic instruments; amplification of the singers and instruments; alternating choral and solo declamations
Contact: Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
E-mail Address:
Phone: 212-358-5300
Publisher Web Site:
Schedule of Performances Listings
The Death of Klinghoffer (Adams)
Monday, October 20, 2014 - Metropolitan Opera
The Death of Klinghoffer (Adams)
Sunday, March 16, 2014 - Long Beach Opera
The Death of Klinghoffer (Adams)
Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
The Death of Klinghoffer (Adams)
Friday, February 18, 2005 - Curtis Institute of Music Opera Theatre
The Death of Klinghoffer (Adams)
Saturday, November 7, 1992 - San Francisco Opera
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