Synopsis by Mark Deming
John Adams' audacious contemporary opera about the 1985 capture of the ocean liner Achille Lauro is given a faithful screen adaptation in this production financed by the British television network Channel 4. A large group of tourists book passage aboard the Achille Lauro for a 12-day cruise in the Mediterranean, and when the ship docks in Alexandria for two days, just over half of the passengers head into town for shopping and sightseeing. While the ship is docked, a maid cleaning a stateroom discovers four of the passengers left on board are actually members of the Palestine Liberation Organization who are traveling incognito. Startled by their discovery, the PLO cadre is forced to move forward immediately with their plan, and they round up the passengers on board, holding them hostage in the dining room, and demanding the release of 50 Palestinian activists held in Israeli jails in exchange for the freedom and safety of the tourists. As Egyptian, American, Italian, and Palestinian authorities bicker over the best way to handle the situation (and who would negotiate with the terrorists), the kidnappers find themselves dealing with rebellion among their captives, and an argument between the four PLO members and Leon Klinghoffer, a Jewish-American confined to a wheelchair, eventually escalates into violence. The Death of Klinghoffer stars Christopher Maltman, Sanford Sylvan, Tom Randle, Yvonne Howard, and Kamel Boutros.
cruise, hijacker, murder, racial-tension, terrorism