LULU'S EROTIC LITTLE SISTER

LOLITA, THE LATEST OPERATIC SIREN, STILL NEEDS A COMPOSER

THROUGHOUT VLADIMIR NABOKOV'S Lolita the prose chimes with music. How appropriate, then, that Rodion Schedrin, one of Russia's pre-eminent composers, has seized upon the novel for an opera. Schedrin's Lolita, which received its world premiere at the Royal Opera in Stockholm last month, runs four hours; unfortunately, the novel has more music on a single page.

Schedrin's lazy, impotent score is loutish when it is not downright sullen. The finale-in which the degenerate playwright Quilty scrambles around his mansion in a drugged stupor, stopping to pound out a few chords on his piano before Humbert Humbert (Per-Arne Wahlgren) shoots him-is a...

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