Is Saudi Money Behind the Met’s Klinghoffer Production?

By Daniel Greenfield, FPM

American oil companies used to sponsor a lot of cultural programming. As the Saudis nationalized and began to take control, that has shifted.

The Saudis are not big opera buffs, but their regime spreads anti-Semitism around the world. And the Metropolitan Opera’s current decision to mount The Death of Klinghoffer, a widely denounced anti-Semitic modern opera in a season packed with productions that are rarely less than a century old, is a curious aberration.

The Metropolitan Opera’s manager Peter Gelb is predicting bankruptcy in two years as the Met has blown through a fortune, for example spending $169,000 on a poppy field used as opera scenery.

The Met is incapable of budgeting and its needs money badly.

Saudi Petroleum International is a local arm of Saudi Aramco and a significant donor to the Metropolitan Opera. The Saudi Minister of Petroleum, Ibrahim Al-Naimi, has even been listed on occasion as a principal sponsor.

The Met has increasingly been making its money from digital broadcasts, rather than theater performances, making it more reliant on international audiences. Its “Live in HD” digital broadcasts go out to countries such as Lebanon, Morocco, as well as to Dubai.

The HD business has become the Met’s bread and butter and like a lot of the luxury trade, it’s looking for a cut of the gushing wells of oil money from nouveau riche sheiks and princes.

Catering to their bigotry is not the classiest way to get it, but it certainly has a history of working.

The Metropolitan Opera’s high-definition cinema broadcast series is about to make another foray into the Middle East…

An Egyptian-born businessman, Mahmoud M. Abdallah, who sits on the Met’s board, helped broker the agreement with the National Cultural Center… The HD season begins on Oct. 9 with Wagner’s “Rheingold,” the first installment of the company’s new “Ring” cycle.

Like most of the American entertainment and culture institutions, the Met is increasingly looking abroad. The Death of Klinghoffer may strike American audiences, not to mention the Klinghoffer family, as hateful and exploitative, but it’s just adding more noise into the culture of anti-Semitism that has been so successfully cultivated in Europe and the Middle East.

The Metropolitan Opera is looking to profit from bigotry in the Middle East and Europe. It’s not the first cultural organization to discover that anti-Semitism sells tickets.

September 19, 2014 | 4 Comments »

Subscribe to Israpundit Daily Digest

Leave a Reply

4 Comments / 4 Comments

  1. @ LtCol Howard:

    The Met’s decision to perform Klinghoffer is symptomatic both the legitimacy of antisemitism and the low state of Jewish self identification and Jewish pride in the American and diaspora communities.

    According to all polls and surveys the Jews are rapidly disappearing as an identifiable community where if assimilation doesn’t finish them off then their extremely low birth rate will (1.3).

    The concept of the opera originated with theater director Peter Sellars, who was a major collaborator, as was the choreographer Mark Morris. It was commissioned by five American and European opera companies, as well as the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The opera has drawn controversy and allegations that the opera is antisemitic, including by the Klinghoffer family.

    Fittingly: The first staging in Germany took place in 1997 in Nürnberg, followed by a second German production at the Opernhaus Wuppertal in 2005.

    In June 2014, the Met’s general manager Peter Gelb announced that after discussions with the Anti-Defamation League

    the planned Live in HD transmission would be cancelled amidst concerns that it could encourage antisemitism. After being dropped from production by the co-commissioning Los Angeles Opera, the opera received its Los Angeles area premiere in March 2014 with Long Beach Opera, conducted by Andreas Mitisek and staged by James Robinson

    Apparently someone with power really wanted to put this production on at this time. This even though they openly admit that the opera is antisemitic.

    There seems to be two kinds of Jews at play here. Those Jews who hate being Jewish and hate other Jews and those who are too timid or ignorant to protest.

    My father in law was a lead tenor with the Met and also one of their Union heads. I don’t believe he would have allowed the production.

  2. This was my post at the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, In response to an article supporting the Metropolitan Opera under the guise of artistic freedom. It was the time when the 3 teenagers were still missing. This is what I wrote: “While the search for the 3 kidnapped teenagers continues, the Metropolitan opera of New York plans to stage a performance glorifying the terrorists who kidnap and murder their innocent victims. Hopefully

    Unfortunately, Jewish donors such as the Toll Brothers and Michael Bloomberg are prominent sponsors of the Metropolitan Opera. The artistic director, Peter Gelb who is also Jewish selected this disgusting, anti-Semitic rant
    Concerning Jews, they tell the audience:“wherever poor men are gathered they can find Jews getting fat You know how to cheat the simple, exploit the virgin, pollute where you have exploited, defame those you cheated, and break your own law with idolatry.”

    Concerning the terrorists they tell the audience: ““We are soldiers fighting a war. We are not criminals and we are not vandals, but men of ideals.”

    Hopefully, the Metropolitan opera will never have their sick opportunity to demonize these 3 poor, unfortunate victims. “

  3. I doubt it.
    There are plenty of renegade unJews volunteering to harm Jews and Israel. Capos and Judenrat never ceased to exist. After WWII special squads liquidated a number of the scum but some remained and organized anew.
    They were led by prominent renegades during WWII in the US. One of yeine rabbunim, “rav Steven Wise being the best known. Some suspect don Nahum Goldman as well.