The Metropolitan Opera

Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was among those who showed up at the Metropolitan Opera last night to denounce the production of The Death of Klinghoffer, which protesters say glorifies terrorism.

Chanting "Shame on the Met!" protesters, numbering about 400, said the performance of the 23-year-old opera was an affront to the memory of Leon Klinghoffer, a passenger on the Italian cruise liner Achille Lauro that was hijacked by members of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in 1985. Klinghoffer, 69, was shot in his wheelchair and dumped overboard.

The Metropolitan Opera in New York is bracing for one of the more controversial productions in its history. Since its first performance more than 20 years ago, some critics have charged that composer John Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer is anti-Israel, and even anti-Semitic. But the opera's supporters dispute that. They argue that Klinghoffer is a dramatic masterpiece that deserves to make its Met debut on Monday.

A labor crisis threatening to shut down New York's Metropolitan Opera — the largest opera house in the world — appears to have been averted. Two of the major unions announced a tentative settlement this morning. While agreements with 10 additional unions need to be reached by Tuesday night, this represents a major turning point in a bitter dispute.

Think opera plots are tough to follow? Try wading through the complicated drama playing out offstage at the Metropolitan Opera. At its most basic, it's the story of management and labor unions fighting over a supposedly dwindling pot of money.

When an opera company is in the midst of contentious labor negotiations, the results can be dramatic. This week, the war of words between unions and management at New York's Metropolitan Opera, the world's largest opera company, escalated. An Aug. 1 shut down now seems likely.

At the center of the debate is the ballooning Met budget, which stood at $200 million in 2006 but has since climbed to more than $325 million. Met General Manager Peter Gelb asserts that union salaries and benefits are his biggest costs, accounting for two-thirds of the operating budget.

The Metropolitan Opera's 2013/2014 broadcast season concludes this Saturday with Gioacchino Rossini's La Cenerentola, starring mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in the title role, and tenor Juan Diego Flórez as her Prince Charming. Alessandro Corbelli and Luca Pisaroni complete the cast, with Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi leading the effervescent score. Saturday, May 10, 1 to 4:30 pm.


An exciting newcomer joins three acclaimed bel canto stars in Bellini’s final opera, a vocal showcase that features one of opera’s greatest mad scenes. Olga Peretyatko makes her highly anticipated Met debut as Elvira, the young woman driven to madness, opposite Lawrence Brownlee, Mariusz Kwiecien, and Michele Pertusi. Vincenzo Bellini: I PURITANI, Saturday, May 4, 1 to 4:30 pm on WRTI.



Will she marry for love or money? Swedish soprano Malin Byström stars in the title role of Strauss’s nostalgic romantic comedy that explores the fleeting charms of youth, opposite Michael Volle and Juliane Banse. Philippe Auguin conducts.

In the title role, Malin Byström, "elegant in both looks and tone, and sounding full and flexible, is uncannily reminiscent of Kiri Te Kanawa... her voice has silvery plush..."

After their powerful pairing in Il Trovatore, Marcelo Álvarez and Patricia Racette reunite in Giordano’s melodramatic story of life in times of revolutionary fervor, a passionate tale of the ill-fated love of a dashing poet and an aristocratic lady, set against the backdrop of the French Revolution. Saturday, April 12, 1 to 4 pm on WRTI.


Giacomo Puccini’s moving story of young love is the most-performed opera in Met history—and with good reason. Anita Hartig stars as the frail Mimì in Franco Zeffirelli’s classic production, with Vittorio Grigolo in the role of her passionate lover, Rodolfo. Saturday, April 5, 1 to 4 pm.