Music: Heavenly Bore

Penderecki'sopera in limbo

In this secular age, God is not very popular among composers. One notable exception is Krzysztof Penderecki, 45, a Polish Roman Catholic. He has written a St. Luke's Passion (1966), Dies Irae, an oratorio for the victims at Auschwitz (1967) and a Magnificat (1974). For the past four years, Penderecki (pronounced Pen-de-ret-ski) has labored on a huge, lofty project: recasting Milton's epic poem, Paradise Lost, into an opera. But last week, in its world premiere at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Penderecki's huge effort failed to justify the ways of...

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