I was trying to capture a screen image from the DVD of Peter Sellars' breathtaking Glyndebourne production of Handel's Theodora when a slightly alarming visual composition appeared on my camera: Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, rising wraith-like over the prostrate Dawn Upshaw, in the middle of my living room. The news that the great Lorraine — whose singing in Theodora might be the most astonishing achievement of her astonishing career — has withdrawn from the premiere performances of John Adams' Doctor Atomic, in San Francisco, has occasioned wailings of lamentation in some quarters. But Kristine Jepson, who sang excellently in Rosenkavalier at the Met this spring, should have the voice and acting chops for the role of Kitty Oppenheimer. Doctor Atomic opens on October 1, and runs until the 22nd — ten performances in all. The libretto, as Adams and Sellars disclosed at a recent press event here in New York, is taken word for word from published documentation of the hours leading up to the first atomic test in New Mexico.