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Opera Now provides a unique and all-encompassing perspective on the international opera scene through its lively and colourful mix of news, reviews, interviews, travel articles and commentary.

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With our mixture of celebrity interviews, leadership profiles and behind-the-scenes features, you'll appreciate the diversity, passion and dynamism of the people who make opera happen. It is the global platform for opera, reaching out to opera lovers worldwide, but also into the heart of the industry from the grassroots to the glamorous.


La Traviata at the Soho Theatre

Il Divo

Editorial

Ashutosh Khandekar, Editor of Opera Now
(Photo: Benjamin Ealovega)

Ashutosh Khandekar - Editor
From the current issue of Opera Now

Peter Gelb, boss of the Metropolitan Opera, has been getting himself into all sorts of hot water recently. Among the many controversies raging around America’s operatic powerhouse has been Gelb’s decision to cancel the Met’s live cinema relay of John Adams’ opera The Death of Klinghoffer, due to premiere this autumn. Gelb caved in under pressure from the influential Anti-Defamation League, which has branded the opera anti-Semitic and has urged the Met to withdraw it altogether.

Adams’ 1991 opera has never been far from controversy. It dramatises the actual events surrounding the hijack of a cruise liner, en route from Egypt to Israel in 1985, by a group of Palestinians. Leon Klinghoffer, a Jewish-American businessman, was shot and thrown overboard in his wheelchair.

Is the opera anti-Semitic? In a word: no. Even Gelb admits as much, making his decision to cancel the relay all the more unfathomable. For sure, there are characters on the stage that spout anti-Semitic sentiments. The men who hijacked the ship were, after all, full of hatred towards Israel, and the opera portrays them as truthfully as it can. Leon Klinghoffer, meanwhile, is characterised as a brave, decent man who confronts the hijackers and pays the price. His murder is shown to be an act of repugnant, cruel and unnecessary violence.

Klinghoffer
is one of the few operas written in the last 50 years that tackles a subject of enduring importance and extreme relevance to its audiences. Alice Goodman’s libretto is intense and thoughtful; Adams’ music is very moving: full of urgency, rage and compassion. The opera attempts to give a historical context to complex modern-day conflicts, and it examines a world where innocents become victims of power-mongers, caught up in other people’s battles. It offers no solutions; it relates a horrific, true story vividly, and with dignity.

Peter Gelb has been bemoaning the fact that cinema relays from the Met haven’t attracted the new, younger public he had hoped for. The relay of The Death of Klinghoffer could have been a game-changer in this respect: an extraordinary opportunity for the Met to show a diverse, global audience how opera can grapple with subjects of massive cultural and geopolitical significance. Instead, Gelb has stigmatised one of the great works of opera of the 20th century, an act unworthy for someone in his elevated position of cultural influence.

The final word has to go to John Adams himself, who said in an official response to the Met: ‘The cancellation of the international telecast is a deeply regrettable decision and goes far beyond issues of “artistic freedom”, and ends in promoting the same kind of intolerance that the opera’s detractors claim to be preventing.’

Opera Now
is available as an interactive digital magazine from pocketmags.com, iTunes and GooglePlay – read on your iPad, iPhone, Android device, Kindle Fire or computer. App FREE, single issues £3.99

In The Next Issue of Opera Now: October 2014

Opera Now was launched in the UK in 1989. In this issue we celebrate our 25th anniversary with a look at the current fortunes and future aspirations of movers and shakers in the British opera world.

SEOUL MATES
Opera North chalks up several firsts when it casts two superb young Korean singers, Hye-Youn Lee and Ji-Min Park, as the leads in its first new production of Verdi’s La traviata for 15 years, marking the Leeds debut of the rising Italian conductor Gianluca Marcianò.

THE LONG VIEW
As Opera Now turns 25, we invite the bosses of Britain’s national opera companies to map out their vision for the future of opera over the next quarter-century.

BACK TO THE FUTURE
The great Welsh tenor Dennis O’Neill was Opera Now’s first ever cover star in 1989. Now shaping a new generation of talent at the Cardiff International Academy of Voice, he gives us his perspectives on how opera has changed, for better and worse, over the past 25 years.

THE VERY MODEL
As the celebrated film director Mike Leigh directs a new production of The Pirates of Penzance at English National Opera, we find out why Britain is renewing its love affair with the comic operas of Gilbert & Sullivan.

PLUS
> Sir Peter Maxwell Davies at 80
> Become an instand expert on Mozart's Idomeneo



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