The Devils of Loudun

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The Devils of Loudun.

The Devils of Loudun is a 1969 opera by Krzysztof Penderecki, based on the eponymous novel by Aldous Huxley. It was his first opera. The album recording was conducted by Marek Janowski and the Hamburg State Orchestra, released by Philips. Soprano singer Tatiana Troyanos performs the part of Jeanne.

Zappa about The Devils of Loudun

Zappa named "The Devils Of Loudun" by Penderecki one of his 10 favorite records in Faves, Raves And Composers In Their Graves, June 1975: "Because it's also an extremely well-produced album and I think it's an excellent piece of dramatic music. And also because Tatiana Troyanos who plays the main nun sounds absolutely marvellous during the enema scena. The story is about a hunch-backed nun who's possessed by the Devil and has to have an exorcism. The exorcism involves the nun being given a hot herbal enema. In live performances the exorcism takes place behind a screen and you hear Tatiana singing and screecheing whilst an orchestra plays enema music. You also hear the Devil chuckling from inside the nun's bowel."

In Classical Zappa Zappa also cited it as his favorite opera, because he "liked the enema scene." He added some more details about his appreciation during a 1975 radio interview:

"This Catholic Polish gentleman which writes very interesting music doing this opera with religious and demonic overtones (...) The thing that knocks me out: I've got this Philips recording with Tatjana Troyanos singing the lead vocal in this enema sequence where's to exorcise Asmodeus who is supposed to be lurking inside her bowel, according to the text by Aldous Huxley. They have to take her behind the screen on stage and pump her up in sort of philosophical sense with some, unseen by the audience, herbal burbling enema. And the music he has going on for that scene is very ingenious, you know. You hear the bubbles and she is singing interesting little screams and grunts and stuff. I'd say: "That's a step forward." There's not too many things in rock 'n' roll that can compare to that. I put it right up alongside of "Voulez-Vous Couchez Avec Moi", one of those funk tunes." [1].


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