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Death of Klinghoffer


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Audio CD, November 17, 1992
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Audio, Cassette, November 17, 1992
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Product Details

  • Performer: Janice Felty, Stephanie Friedman, Thomas Hammons
  • Conductor: Kent Nagano
  • Composer: John Adams
  • Audio CD (November 17, 1992)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B000005J1B
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,975 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Prologue: Chorus Of Exiled Palestinians
2. Prologue: Chorus Of Exiled Jews
3. Act 1, scene 1: "It was just after one fifteen"
4. Act 1, scene 1: "My Grandson Didi, who was two"
5. Act 1, scene 1: "Give these orders"
6. Act 1, scene 1: "So I said to my grandson"
7. Act 1, scene 1: "We are sorry for you"
8. Act 1, scene 1: Ocean Chorus
9. Act 1, scene 2: "Now it is night"
10. Act 1, scene 2: "I think if you could talk like this"
See all 14 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Act 2: Hagar Chorus
2. Act 2, scene 1: "Come here. Look"
3. Act 2, scene 1: "I've never been a violent man"
4. Act 2, scene 1: "You are always complaining of your suffering"
5. Act 2, scene 1: "I must have been hysterical"
6. Act 2, scene 1: "It is as if our earthly life were spent miserably"
7. Act 2, scene 1: Desert Chorus
8. Act 2, scene 2: "My one consolation"
9. Act 2, scene 2: Klinghoffer's death
10. Act 2, scene 2: "Every fifteen minutes, one more will be shot"
See all 23 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

In The Death of Klinghoffer (1991), John Adams turns his cascading minimalism to the tragedy of the Achille Lauro. This spacious recording makes grand what seems so minor in the great scheme of things: a group of terrorists hijack an ocean liner and kill a wheelchair-bound Jewish retiree, Leon Klinghoffer. If the conceit of Adams' earlier opera, Nixon in China, seems a bit incredulous (Richard Nixon as opera subject?), The Death of Klinghoffer is genuine tragedy--Greek chorus and all. Alice Goodman is the librettist. This is one of the 20th century's best operas. A must. --Paul Cook

Customer Reviews

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See all 11 customer reviews
The music is superb and the vocal treatment is really a beauty.
Aldo J. Rodriguez Fragozo
Typical of Adams' work, this opera is edgy, full of actual historical occurrences and controversial topics that make the story fascinating.
C. One
The Death of Klinghoffer was described by Gramophone as "one of the twentieth century's best operas" - and this is my view also.
Mr. F. L. Dunkin Wedd

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 39 people found the following review helpful By NYC Music Lover on August 31, 2001
Format: Audio CD
The Death Of Klinghoffer by John Adams is to my mind one of the great musical and dramatic works of the last 25 years. I heard it in Brooklyn and in San Francisco live in its first outings, and having now heard the cd's for the 1000th time, I am still blown away by the power of this score, especially in its choral writing and in its sheer beauty. Minimalist techniques are (as in Nixon in China) put at the service of the drama, and melody and achingly beautiful passages only heighten the impact of the piece. Most of all, we are reminded in this work that this is a trgedy on multiple levels: for Klinghoffer and his wife, for the captain and guests, and, above all, for the people whose lives are dominated and shaped by the ongoing, ugly and seemingly intractable -- not to mention ungodly -- conflict that won't be resolved by those that carry weapons. The backdrop of the dispute is that there are no heroic figures, no saviors, only tragic pawns and a huge array of victims. Adams brings to this sensitivity, beauty, and, sadly, an acknowledgment of the despair the world feels about the Middle East. When you listen to the choral passages, there's a level of pain mixed with anger that is truly remarkable -- something rarely found in music and opera, except in, perhaps, Fidelio, and there only fleetingly. This opera is a must for those who not only love music, but also those who say they revere and respect human life. As Henze's libretto for The Raft of the Frigate 'Medusa" concludes (paraphrased): "Those who remained, went on to change the world." That's what our response to hearing this music should be, since Marilyn Klinghoffer's rage at the end of the opera is interwoven with the same sense of sorrow and pain heard in the choral passages: how else do you rectify sorrow and pain but by struggling to change that which causes it?
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Jay Dickson VINE VOICE on May 14, 2001
Format: Audio CD
John Adams' and Alice Goodman's follow-up work to their splendid NIXON IN CHINA was this, a very somber and sober envisioning of the hijacking of the Achille Lauro in the mid-Eighties. The work has some of Adams's most beautiful music to date, with choruses of tremendous power (particularly the opening paired choruses and the terrifying "Night" chorus), arias of undeniable facility and charm ("I must have been hysterical") and of great dramatic power (Marilyn's furious indictment "You embraced them!", which closes the work). Unfortunately, the various pieces don't seem at all of a unified whole--Adams keeps changing modes from set piece to set piece, and the thing doesn't really breathe. It doesn't help matters that the work is set retrospectively so that none of the characters seem to live the past, only to remember them; or that Goodman's libretto is much less fluid than her previously supple work for NIXON. (In KLINGHOFFER, the awkwardness of Goodman's words are best demonstrated by the fact that almost each chorus begins with the dreadful syntactic construction "Is not the...?"). The overall sense is of a work with tremendous poignancy and potential that sometimes veers into pretentiousness, without the humor and drama that finally makes NIXON a superior operative outing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tanis on December 3, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Like El Nino, The Death of Klinghoffer is far closer to a dramatic oratorio than to an opera. Kent Nagano conducts Lyon Opera forces with the original singers who directly inspired the composer. The story is based on the age-old conflict between Palestinians and Jews. The closing scene brings the bitter concluding lament of Klinghoffer's wife, Marilyn. The mezzo Sheila Nadler rises to the challenge superbly, and the baritone Sanford Sylvan is comparably sensitive as Kinghoffer himself, well matched by James Maddalena as the Captain, an Evangelist-like commentator, and by Thomas Hammons and Janice Felty in multiple roles. The recorded sound is excellent, but the booklet reproduces an unrevised version of the libretto.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mr. F. L. Dunkin Wedd on January 5, 1999
Format: Audio CD
The Death of Klinghoffer was described by Gramophone as "one of the twentieth century's best operas" - and this is my view also. I found this work one of the most moving pieces of contemporary music I have ever heard. It is accessible, but never shallow; musician's music but never arcane; sensitive but never effeminate. It handles issues of complexity and difficulty with a very light touch; the political furore which surrounded its performance was never justified, and not based on either the words or music. I recommend this piece to all those of open mind as one of the great works of our time.
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 6, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Adams music in KLINGHOFFER is, as always, beautiful and sensitive. Fans of his previous work for voice THE WOUND-DRESSER will be pleased; as will fans of Adams's more energetic electronic music. His orchestral incorporation of the synthesizer is tasteful, and gives the orchestration a surreal, mythological sheen. Unfortunately, Nagano's conducting doesn't bring out many of the subtle nuances of Adams's score; there are many sub-themes and rhythmic quirks that often get lost in recordings of Adams that seem to get drowned out in this recording. There should be more live performances of this opera, but until then, buy this CD.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David Thierry on November 22, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Mr. Adams once again gives us an opera to deal with and what a piece! Although the overall feeling may be somewhat funereal like a National Day of Morning the music is terribly sensitive to it's subject and the libretto provocative. The Death is not likely to replace Manon or La Boheme but it is a contemporary work dealing with contemporary realities and therein lies it's power. Adams does a much better job of writing for voice than Philip Glass does in his Waiting for the Barbarians which may give new meaning to phoned in. If you're an Adams fan it's not a hard sell. This is a serious work about serious matters. The tone is appropriate and there is much here worth listening to. Not nearly as dreary as Berg's violin concerto, I like the work very much.
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