Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Grove Music Online. Grove is a registered trademark. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 22 November 2019

Devils of Loudun, Thelocked

  • Adrian Thomas


Opera in three acts by Krzysztof Penderecki to a libretto by the composer after John Whiting’ s dramatization of Aldous Huxley’s novel The Devils of Loudun, based on Erich Fried’s German translation of the play; Hamburg, Staatsoper, 20 June 1969.

The Devils of Loudun is Penderecki’s first and most popular opera and has had many new productions in Europe and the USA. The subject not only inspired Huxley and Whiting but also spawned Ken Russell’s film The Devils. With its unabashed exploration of lust, blasphemy, exorcism and religious persecution, it fitted Penderecki’s taste for vivid musical and dramatic extremes. Moreover, in two large-scale choral works – the St Luke Passion (1963–6) and Dies irae (1967), written in memory of those murdered at Auschwitz – he had recently developed both his musical language and his control of extended structures.

The principal story draws on contemporary accounts of the trial of Father Grandier in ...

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Please subscribe to access the full content.