We caught up with Tom Morris, director of ENO’s The Death of Klinghoffer (making it’s London stage premiere next year at the London Coliseum). Morris is a passionate advocate of the opera which takes as its subject the real-life hijacking of the cruise liner Achille Lauro by Palestinian militants and the murder of the ship’s only male jewish passenger, Leon Klinghoffer.
Here’s what Morris had to say about the opera and what atracted him to take on the direction of the UK’s premiere.
For Morris, the power of the opera, and what makes it ‘unusual’, is its balance of emphasis:
"what [John Adams and Alice Goodman have done] is to respond sympathetically to whatever they can sense of the humanity of whichever character they are writing for, actually in the way that any great dramatist would, but because this is a political story, and because some of the characters are hijackers, some people would call them terrorists, this becomes unnerving for an audience but that’s what they do and that’s the strength of it and there’s a conversation in the middle of the opera where the captain of the ship that’s been hijacked says to one of the hijackers ‘if you could talk like this sitting among your enemies then peace would come.’"
And why the ENO?
"Some people assume that opera is a backward looking, tired, if you like, the kind of art form that you can only possibly be interested in if you are over 55 and I think the thing that drives [artistic director] John Berry at the ENO is an instinct that Opera can be urgent, relevant, surprising, questioning, and feel immediate for the right audience if it’s presented in the right way."
The Death of Klinghoffer opens on 25 February for 7 performances, click here for more details and booking.