|Aubrey Allicock (Photographed by Roger Erickson for Out)|
In the Metropolitan Opera staging, the gay baritone plays Mahmoud, a Palestinian terrorist. Allicock tackles the controversy surrounding the production—and explains why everybody should see it.
Last year, Aubrey Allicock played the role of gay boxer Emile Griffith in Champion, Terence Blanchard's opera-in-jazz, in St. Louis. A Tuscson native of Guyanese and African-American descent, Allicock has since graduated from Juilliard's top-tier program for opera singers, and performed in productions of Rinaldo and Alice in Wonderland. This fall, he makes his debut on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in a new production of The Death of Klinghoffer.
Directed by Tom Morris (War Horse) and composed by John Adams (Nixon in China, Doctor Atomic), The Death of Klinghoffer is based on the 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro by Palestinian terrorists, which resulted in the killing of a wheelchair-bound Jewish passenger, Leon Klinghoffer.
Since its premiere in Brooklyn in 1991, the work has drawn praise and criticism for its libretto, which some Jewish organizations have called anti-semitic. While this new staging hasn't failed to anger protesters outside Lincoln Center, Allicock, who plays one of the Palestinian terrorists, tells us why Klinghoffer should be required viewing, regardless of where one stands on current affairs.
Out: The Death of Klinghoffer marks your stage debut at the Met. How are you feeling? Aubrey Allicock: I worked at the Met back in 2010 as an understudy, but this is my first time singing on the stage. Surprisingly, I feel really comfortable. I know the music because I’ve sung the role before for six productions of Klinghoffer. I know what my voice is able to do with it, and I’m actually finding myself being able to explore my character further. It’s more about being more comfortable with the character—because the music is no problem.
[Continue reading interview at OUT Magazine]