The Death Of Klinghoffer by John Adams is to my mind one of the great musical and dramatic works of the last 25 years. I heard it in Brooklyn and in San Francisco live in its first outings, and having now heard the cd's for the 1000th time, I am still blown away by the power of this score, especially in its choral writing and in its sheer beauty. Minimalist techniques are (as in Nixon in China) put at the service of the drama, and melody and achingly beautiful passages only heighten the impact of the piece. Most of all, we are reminded in this work that this is a trgedy on multiple levels: for Klinghoffer and his wife, for the captain and guests, and, above all, for the people whose lives are dominated and shaped by the ongoing, ugly and seemingly intractable -- not to mention ungodly -- conflict that won't be resolved by those that carry weapons. The backdrop of the dispute is that there are no heroic figures, no saviors, only tragic pawns and a huge array of victims. Adams brings to this sensitivity, beauty, and, sadly, an acknowledgment of the despair the world feels about the Middle East. When you listen to the choral passages, there's a level of pain mixed with anger that is truly remarkable -- something rarely found in music and opera, except in, perhaps, Fidelio, and there only fleetingly. This opera is a must for those who not only love music, but also those who say they revere and respect human life. As Henze's libretto for The Raft of the Frigate 'Medusa" concludes (paraphrased): "Those who remained, went on to change the world." That's what our response to hearing this music should be, since Marilyn Klinghoffer's rage at the end of the opera is interwoven with the same sense of sorrow and pain heard in the choral passages: how else do you rectify sorrow and pain but by struggling to change that which causes it?