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December 05, 1978 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1978-12-05

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The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, December 5, 1978-Page 7

A

'Paradise'

in

Cli

By SCOTT EYERLY
Special to The Daily
CHICAGO - I was terrified. Just as
the low strings began to drone, the cur-
tain rose on a stage completely dark but
for the eerie steel glints of several in-
Paradise Lost-
Music by Krzysztof Penderecki
* Libretto by Christopher Fry, after John Milton
World Premiere Performance presented
by the Lyric Opera of Chicago
on November 29, 1978
ivic Opera House
John Milton ....................... Arnold Moss
Adam . . William Stone, lyric Ibritone
Eve............ .... Ellen Shade, lyric .soprwwo
Satan......Peter Van Ginkel, dramatic baritone
Death...........Paul Esswood, counlertenor
Sin............Joy Davidson, mezzo soprano
Gabriel............. .... James Schisow, tenor
Messias................... AlanOpie ritone
Michael........ .......Frank Little, tenor
Dancers
Adam................... Dennis Wayne
* Edward Tuell
Eve .....................Nancy Thuson
John Butler, chwre),raplher; Igal
Perr:y, ,stainx Duane Schuler, lihtink desgner;
Bruno Bartolettiy couct r
distinguishable structures. Nearly a
minute passed in oppressive darkness,
until a bar of light illuminated Milton's
shoulders, and the poet, old and blind,
turned to thunder, "Hail, holy light!
Shine inward. There plant eyes, that I
may see." Somewhere, choral singing

began. A phosphorescent glow arose
and the chorus became visible, huddled
in two immense meshed towers on
either side of the stage, four levels high.
The effect was staggering.
So began a major world premiere at
Chicago's Civic Opera House last Wed-
nesday night. Paradise Lost, with
libretto by Christopher Fry and music
by Kyzysztof Penderecki, was com-
missioned in 1973 for the bicentennial,
but its debut was postponed when the
composer appealed for more time to
complete the massive project. The final
budget tallied at over $1 million, and
the premiere played to a full house -
save scattered seats left by season sub-
scribers too alienated by modern music
- that included the mayor and some 70
music critics from around the world.
CALLED A "rappresentazione," not
an opera, by the authors (according to
the program, the work is "a
theatrically-oriented, allegorically
derived musical presentation
popularized .in the early 17th century"),
Paradise Lost runs three hours. It is the
longest work Penderecki has written,
and the most ambitious the Lyric has
ever mounted.
English playwright Christopher Fry,
best known for his comedy The Lady's
Not For Burning, faced a huge job in re-
working Milton's twelve-thousand line
poem for the stage. Milton's epic
relates the rise and fall of Lucifer and

his warring angels, the creation of
Adam and Eve, the loss of Paradise,
and man's hope for salvation by the Son
of God, called Messias in the opera.
Preserving Milton's form, Fry begins
in the middle of the story, but shortens
it: following Milton's invocation, Adam
and Eve enter dressed in plain red
robes symbolic of the Fall, lamenting
their loss of Eden. Milton returns to
ask, "Who first seduced them? The in-
fernal serpent, Satan!" after which the
scene shifts to Hell before the creation
of Man and all proceeds in fair accor-
dance with the poem.
MANY LINES from Milton have been
transferred intact, including the
biggies ("Better to reign in Hell/Than

cago*
serve in Heaven," etc.). The language
is beautiful, but because it is sung, it is
sometimes impossible for an audience
to follow. A line like Eve's "Impute me
to my default that /Which might have
happened to thyself/Had thou been
there?" overlaps a line of Adam's, and
is virtually impossible to give the kind
of scrutiny the printed page affords.
Several vital scenes are given over to
two dancers representing Adam and
Eve, aside from many sequences which
integrate both the singing and dancing
pairs. Among the solo segments are
Adam's creation, in which the dancer
lies "as though in the womb" until
rhythmic choral breathing sets his body
moving sympathetically; Eve's
creation; and the sensual dance of
Adam and Eve after the Fall, accom-
panied by a solo violin. Other examples
of the stunning choreography include
the representation of a bird of prey and
its victim, and the killing of Abel by
Cain, this last item for some reason
considered a "mime" in the libretto.
WHILE THE music is doubtless the
opera's most forceful feature, it is also
the hardest to assimilate on one
listening. Penderecki tackles mam-
moth issues with tiny slivers of music:
his themes include the Hiroshima
tragedy, the Crucifixion, and the fate of
man, yet some of his strongest com-
positional devices are endless pedal
tones and long high tremelos (violins at
the end of the opera - a hopeful coun-
terbalance to the foreboding opening
pedal).'
Paradise Lost, however, is far more
lyric, even "romantic" - Penderecki's
term - than anything the composer has'
ever written, and is more precisely
(i.e., not graphically) notated.
Definite motives appear. Fewer chords
are simply stacked half-steps of
"clusters" but, like one horn passage
for Satan, sound specifically spaced,
almost Stravinskian. Far more is
metric as well. An entire short scene
mid-way through act one, added by the
librettist, in which Adam and a boys
chorus name the animals is mostly
straightforward four-four time. Eve's
evil dance is more irregular, but still
clearly metered.
THE ORCHESTRA, about 55 players,
includes five or six percussionists
(typically) and no saxes (atypically).
The music, ebbing and flowing as if un-
der constant geological, rather
Wagnerian stress, is almost continuous
but includes several breaks.
See PARADISE, Page 9

The Ann Arbor Film Coor tive resen
TUESDAY, DCEMBER 5
BADLANDS
(Terence Malick, 1974) 7 & 10:20- AUD. A
A brilliant first movie that established its young writer-producer-director as
a major American talent. MARTIN SHEEN gives a critically acclaimed per-
formance as Kit, a young man who kills his girlfriend's father when he dis-
approves of their relationship. Adaopted from an actual case, the film probes
the minds of the two teenagers ond the reaction of the nation to their cross-
country escape and killing spree. A remarkable examination of violence
and terror in America. With SISSY SPACEK.
92 IN TH E SHADE
(Thomas McGuone, 1976) 8:40 only-AUD. A
Yet another cult film sabotaged by lousy distribution. A story of friendship,
jealousy, fishing and Florida, the N.Y. TIMES called it, "subtle and lively..
by the time it ends we have unmistakably been entertained." Directed by
Thomas McGuone, who wrote the original novel. Stars: WARREN OATES,
PETER FONDA, MARGOT KIDDER, BURGESS MEREDITH, SYkVIA MILES.
Tomorrow: CESAR AND ROSALIE
& PARDON MON AFFAIRE
HUMOR-HANDLED BY A MASTER!
JoIN US--WuEwoTMAGC To DO!
for the first time in Ann Arbor...
A Contemporary Musical
Including a finale never before
seen on the live stage!
A UACSophShow Production
Wish to Usher? Need Info?-Coll Mendelssohn 763-1085

Am--

in]

Anniversay Se
20% OFF aramount Mon-Tues-Th-Fri
Oriental Rugs, Sheepskin Coats,
Tapestry, Jewelry, and Handcrafted9:
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Perfect Gifts
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IMPORTS _ * ,,7:45
320 E. Liberty-769-8555 9:45
MON. & FRI. TUES.-SAT.
10-8 10-5:30
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Policy Against Discrimination
on the Basis of Handicap
"No qualified handicapped person shall, on the basis of handicap,
be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or
otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or
activity which receives or benefits from Federal financial assist

'Paradise Lost' premieres
Pictured above are Christopher Fry (top left), librettist for "Paradise Lost;" Kyzystof
Penderecki (top right), composer of the opera; and, below, a sketch from the Chicago Lyric Opera
production depicting Satan's tribe of fallen angels.

Noble papers come to 'U'
A University alumnus known for
taking perhaps the most famous shor-
tcut in history will long be remem-
bered, now that his memoirs and
publications are in the holdings of the
University's Bentley Historical'
Library, officials announced Nov. 20.
The papers of Alfred Noble, the
engineer who designed the Pahama,
Canal, were recently donated to the
library by his granddaughter.
"Noble's plan, a minority report, was
the one ultimately adopted for the,
Panama Canal's construction," says
Robert Warner, director of the library.
He notes that Noble, who graduated
from U-M in 1870, was also responsible
for major changes in Michigan's Soo
Canal, and was involved in a host of
other projects throughcut the country.
He helped build the Washington Bridge
in New York City, the Cairo Bridge in
Illinois and the Memphis Bridge in
Tennessee, as well as an assortment of
railroads and tunnels.,

ante..."

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versity's Section 504 Compliance Officer or to the appropriate unit's Section 504 Coordinator:
Mr. Charles M. Allmand,
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and Section 504 Compliance Officer
5072 Administration Building-764-0235
UNIT SECTION 504 COORDINATORS

Vice Presidential Areas
ACADEMIC AFFAIRS, Edward Dougherty, Asst. to the
Vice President for Academic Affairs, 3079 Admin. Bldg.,
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BUSINESS AND FINANCE, William Sturgis, Asst. to the
Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, 5074 Admin.
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DEARBORN, J. Thomas Priemer, Personnel Director,
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ENGINEERING, Maurice Sinnott, Assoc. Dean, 248 West
Engineering, 764-8470
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Campus, 764-0586
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NURSING, Barbara Norman, Coordinator of Minority
Affairs, M-4124 School of Nursing, 764-9454
PHARMACY, James Richards, Assoc. Dean, 1010 Phar-
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of Public Health I, 764-5425
RACKHAM, Sandra Johansen, Administrative Manager,
166 Rackham, 764-9477

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