Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
After over 800 years "The Play of Daniel," which originated around 1150 at the Cathedral of Beauvais in France, finally made it Thursday night to the Kennedy Center.
Any questions about how the great medieval drama would work in the unadorned reaches of the Concert Hall were quickly and happily answered. The imaginative, fluent staging of Nikos Psacharapoulos transformed the hall into a place where lights and costumes, and most of all, the eloquence of the ancient story and music could draw out once again the deep human response of the grand play.
The production is the striking work brought to light in 1958 by the late Noah Greenberg. With the musical authority of Rembert Weakland behind, and an English narration by W. H. Auden - superably read by Alexander Scourby - "The Play of Daniel" is of vivid, continuing strengths.
The Concert Hall's aisles and doorways combined with the entrances on its stage to provide the movement called for as Belshazzar, Darius, Daniel, Habakkuk, angels and satraps came and went.
Most important was the unerring vitality and style of the singers and instrumental musicians, some of whom have played the work for all of the 20 years since its initial performances in the Cloisters. Ray DeVoll's Daniel remains a thing of flawless beauty. His longtime colleagues Arthur Burrows and Sheila Schonbrun are as impressive as Darius, Belshazzar's Queen, and the Herald Angel. Boys from the choir of New York's Church of the Transfiguration are in fine form.