Two new operas, "The Death of Klinghoffer" and "The Passion of Jonathan Wade," have sparked a great deal of interest.

"The Death of Klinghoffer" - named for the Jewish wheelchair-confined American shot and dumped overboard during the 1985 Achille Lauro hijacking - had its premiere on March 19 at Belgium's Monnaie Theater.Involved in the production were composer John Adams, librettist Alice Goodman, stage director Peter Sellars, and choreographer Mark Morris.

Reviewers of the minimalist work noted arias drawing on themes of exile, persecution and violence common to Jews and Palestinians, choruses reminiscent of Greek tragedy, with a style suggesting religious oratorio. Staging is mostly stark scaffolding. "The Death of Klinghoffer" has seven performances in Brussels before moving to Lyon, France, next month. Its U.S. premiere is scheduled for September at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Carlisle Floyd's "The Passion of Jonathan Wade," a saga of the Civil War Reconstruction era, is going the rounds as a co-production of the Houston, Miami, San Diego and Seattle opera companies. Most reviewers find the work masterful but flawed. This is after Floyd practically rewrote his 1962 original of the piece, with 80 percent new music. The timing of his project has no connection with the popular PBS Civil War series, said Floyd.