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Perplexing Prometheus

Let's see. The directions are in Latin, the musical indications are in Italian, so the libretto should be in—right, ancient Greek. The plot is Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound, the story of a Titan who was chained to a rock in Scythia, so the setting should be—right, a jungle.

Such perplexities are typical of the work of Carl Orff. Everybody agrees that Orff, at 72, ranks as Germany's foremost composer, but nobody agrees on why, or even whether he ought to. Thus the world première of his Prometheus last week by the Stuttgart Opera was, depending on...

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