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A GLASS ACT

COMPOSER PHILIP GLASS SEARCHES FOR A DIFFERENT KIND OF BEAUTY IN BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

That may be true, but there's little question that Glass's current inventions are far more accessible than Einstein and the like. La Belle may include the composer's trademark note repetitions, but they're often planted behind sweeping melodies of the sort he once eschewed. Glass doesn't apologize for this seeming incongruity--he revels in it. "If you were to describe La Belle as a minimalist opera, an audience that came to see it would rightly be confused. They would ask, `In which way? What does that have to do with minimalism?'"

Not much--and as a result, a sizable percentage of reviewers who have scoffed at Glass in the past seem to be coming around. Positive notices, coupled with the fame that worshipful cable-TV features confer, have left him in an enviable position.

"I'll be talking about such and such a person to someone, and I'll say, `He's a very nice guy,'" Glass remarks. "And the person I'm talking to will say, `Actually, that guy is a complete rat.' And I'll reply, `He was nice to me.' And I'll be told, `Everyone's nice to you, Philip.' That's when I realize that it's been a while since anyone has really mistreated me. How strange."

Philip Glass & the Philip Glass Ensemble & Singers: La Belle et la Béte, an opera for ensemble and the film by Jean Cocteau. 8 p.m. Tuesday, October 24, Macky Auditorium, CU-Boulder campus, $19-$25, 830-

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