Paradise Lost (Penderecki)

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Paradise Lost
Opera by Krzysztof Penderecki
Krzysztof Penderecki 20080706.jpg
The composer in 2008
Description Sacra Rappresentazione
Librettist Christopher Fry
Based on"Paradise Lost" by John Milton
29 November 1978 (1978-11-29)

Paradise Lost is an opera in two acts with music by Krzysztof Penderecki and an English libretto by Christopher Fry. The opera is based on the 1667 epic poem of the same name by Milton. Penderecki himself characterized the work as a Sacra Rappresentazione (sacred representation) rather than an opera. [1] He wrote the opera on commission for the 1976 US Bicentennial celebrations. The first performance was given on 29 November 1978, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. [2] The same production was given at La Scala, Milan on 31 January 1979. [3] [4] [5]


The opera is set in heaven, hell, and on earth at the dawn of creation, and is divided into 42 scenes.


RoleVoice typePremiere cast,
29 November 1978
(Conductor: Bruno Bartoletti) [6]
John Miltonspeaker Arnold Moss
Adam baritone William Stone
Eve soprano Ellen Shade
Satan bass-baritone Peter Van Ginkel
Beelzebub tenor Michael Ballam
Molochbaritone William Powers
BelialtenorMelvin Lowrey
MammonbaritoneEdward Huls
Death countertenor Paul Esswood
Sin mezzo-soprano Joy Davidson
ZephonsopranoSusan Brummell
IthurielJohn Patrick Thomas
GabrieltenorJames Schwisow
RaphaelDale Terbeek
Messiasbaritone Alan Opie
Michaeltenor Frank Little
Voices of GodJohn Brandstetter
Voices of GodDavid Howell
Voices of GodEdward Huls
Voices of GodDaniel McConnell
Voices of GodWilliam Mitchell

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  1. Michael Walsh (12 December 1983). "Let the Secrets of Glory Open". Time. Archived from the original on October 20, 2012. Retrieved 2007-09-15.
  2. Lange, Art, "First Performances: Penderecki's Paradise Lost (March 1979). Tempo (New Ser.), 128: pp. 3435.
  3. Quinn, Daniel, "Styles in Production: Re-Visioning Opera" (1980). Performing Arts Journal, 5 (1): pp. 87-95.
  4. News (Performance Announcements). (December 1978). Tempo (New Ser.), 127: pp.54.
  5. Opera Archive
  6. "Lyric Opera of Chicago Archive: 1970-1979" . Retrieved October 28, 2015.

Further reading