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November 21, 1968 - Image 2

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1968-11-21

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Page Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY -h"r1

1

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i nursaay, iNovemver z i 1 bti

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rneatre

On-and-o'ff'Tempest'

music
Philharmonic

IVI"EINA,,IEJNAI. STUD~ENTS ASSOC.

3

III

By JEFFERSON BRICK
The University Players, current-
ly performing The Tempest, one
of Shakespeare's most difficult-
to-stage productions, have simul-
taneously won and lost. While
brilliant in comedy, the Players
do not do justice to the serious
aspects of the pastoral-romantic-
tragicomedy, destroying much of
the power and lyricism of Shake-
speare's most complete philoso-
phical statement. Actors and di-
rector ,alike share the guilt.
Robert McGill, as the neo-Pla-I
tonic. mage, overplays his role,
producing a melodramatic and
pretentious Prospero. McGill's
speech is halting, his line over-
weighted with pompous solemnity.
He pauses unusually often, em-
phasizing unimportant words and
destroying continuity. As he rarely
changes tone, his occasional wise
and humorous comments on the
Ferdinand-Miranda mutual ad-
miration fall completely flat. Only
once- are his pauses salutary. For-
tunately, it is at a crucial moment
in Avt V, scene i, when Prospero,
learning from Ariel, declares that
"the rarer action is in virtue than
in vengeance.",
Michael Firestone (Ferdinand,
heir to the throne of Naples) is al-
most a disaster. Having lost his
father, he first appears on stage
with an. idiotic grin on his face
which is soon complimented by an
absurd Dixie accent, apparently
adopted solely to woo and win Mi-
rainda, Prospero's daughter. The
imbecile smile is seen throughout
the play. Ferdinand is a noble and
strong, though not flawless,
prince, but Firestone lacks power,
a sense of proportion, decorum,
and any feeling for the role..
Priscilla Lindsay's Miranda is a
bit uneven, lacking fire and en-
thusiam when berating Caliban
or defending Ferdinand from her
father's nasty accusations and
punishment; but she comes across
well as the ingenue of high birth
and sound education.
, Director William Halstead has
rung in several unusual changes,
which result in a sentimental de-
nouement in which Antonio begs
And receives . Prospero's forgive-
ness. Shakespeare's care to avoid
any sign of repentance in An-
tonio, reflecting the playwright's
awareness of the eternal presence
of evil, goes for nought. A n d
Prospero's "revels" s p e e c h is
angry rather. than serene and dig-
nified, for Halstead has unac-
countably interpreted the missing
line; "Sir, I am vexed," according
to the modern- idiom.
'The conic scenes save the play.
John Reid Klein ,as. a cockney
Trinculo 'and James flosbein as a'
Fieldsian Stephano are excellent,
but Robert Elliott as Caliban is
superb. Elliot' not only delivers his
comic lines well, but also is con-
vincing as the savage fighting an
imposed civilization, and brings
home his two lyric speeches beau-
tifully.
The comic scenes are violently

hilarious: Hosbein

and Kleinj

smash into walls and fall down
steps with great abandon and
glee. The danger of the three
comic episodes is that they may
bore if they are overplayed. But
all three manage to turn hand-
springs on the tightrope.
Among the minor characters,
William Hunt's absurdly pomp-
ous Gonzalo, is unsatisfying,
Booth Muller and Paul Sarnoff

(Antonio and Sebastion) lack the
intellectual cynicism of the vil-
lians, and their baiting of Gon-
zalo proves dull rather than
flashing. George McCloud's Alon-
zo, however, is urgent, strong,
and properly penitent.
The play is great, this perform-
ance hot-and-cold. See it, then,
for the comic scenes, the virtuoso
Caliban, and the spectacular ef-
facts.
<.>

By JIM PETERS
The University Philharmonia
gets better with time; the or-
chestra ages and matures. The
new members find their places,
and ultimately a group identity
is established. All this helps
their sound and their perform-
ance.
Last night at Hill Aud., con-
ductor Theo Alcantara had a
group of star musicians set be-

La Boherne and growing pains,

By BARBARA WEISS
The making of an opera,
music school style, involves
turning amateurs into profes-
sionals and singers into act'ors,
all in a matter of weeks. And
all of the would-be professional
singer- actors in music school
operatice productions (like this
weekend's La Boheme) learn
their skills in a course in opera
repertory and production creat-
ed 17 years ago by Prof. Josef
Blatt.
Blatt, director and conductor
of the production, has super-
vised 47 operas for the m u s I c
school since his course was es-
tablished. Fifteen - including
La Boheme -- have been done
in conjunction with Prof. Ralph
Herbert, who came here in 1961
as a voice conductor and stage
director.
"Our approach is to make pro-
fessionals of our students," Blatt
says. "We work them as hard
as possible within the limits set
by their time schedules."
The "limits" entail as much
as two to four hours per day,
five days per week. For this rea-
son, only one major opera is
produced each semester.
The long arid arduous pro-
cess involved in the school's pro-
duction of an opera begins with
the choice of a work. Even be-
fore the start of the semester,
Herbert and Blatt have s o m e
idea of what they wish to do.
However, no final choice is made
until they see what types of
voices they have to work with,
both for solo parts and for the
opera chorus. This year, the
decision to produce La Boheme
was not made until two or three
weeks after the semester began.
"We want to give the people
enrolled in the opera course as

tions are translated into the
language of the country in
which they are produced. The
opera can only benefit from
translation, since an audience
can better follow what is hap-
pening."
Herbert adds, "You don't give
an opera singer a chance if he
must sing in a language he
doesn't know."
Blatt himself has translated
La Boheme into English for the
music school. He is well-quali-
fied for this-'task, having trans-
lated 26 operas during an ex-
tensive career involving o p e r a
production' and operatic and
symphonic conducting. As a re-
sult, he knows the opera in-
.timately (he will conduct the
score from memory) and - also
knows how to choose words that
will not be awkward to sing.
"An opera conductor must be
a theater man first," Blatt says.
"He- must be able to feel the
character of the various opera-
tic roles and must be able to
imbue the ' singers with this
character."
Tickets for both the Friday
and Saturday night perform-
ances (in Lydia Mendelssohn
Theatre) are still available, and
all seats are $3.00.
Second class postage paid at Ann
Arbor, Michigan, 420 Maynard St., Ann
Arbor, Michigan, 48104.
Daily except Monday during regular
academic school year.

fore him. He made them work
hard, and they came through
with reputations shining.
And it was not an easy con-
cert. Rpssini's overture to
"Semiramide" was the opener;
the orchestra was bright, pre-
cise, and explosive. From the
long horn solos, interrupted by
bombast -for full orchestra, to
delicate wind sections over piz-
zicato strings, the group under-
stood the Italian's smiling
music very well.
But it was Alcantara's inter-
pretation that toned down the
fervor in the piece. The over-
all sound was a bit stiff due to
the conductor's too-tight hand;
the overture should have been
faster to help blend the varying
sections more smoothly. The
musicians did well, but the smile
was a grin when it could have
been a full-faced laugh.
Benjamin's "Romantic Fan-
tasy for Violin, Viola, and Or-
chestra" followed, with its vir-
tuoso string lines. Soloists An-
gel Reyes andFrancis Bundra
picked by the soft- resonance
melody from the horns, then
quickly moved into spirited
competition with flashy tech-
nique and sound. Dialogues be-
tween the two instruments built
and flowed around the accom-
paniment of the orchestra.
Benjamin twists and turns the
the solo lines, twining them with
percussion, winds, and the
strings of the ensemble. T h e
Philharmonia sound was some-
what dry, however, in its ac-
companying role, good but un-
distinguished. Only in their in-
frequent solo splashes was the
power and drive apparent.
The piece is a fairly recent
composition, and it fuses this
mystic, ethereal melody with
the clashing of piano and per-
cussion. The solo lines expand
and brighten the theme, until
the composition ends with a
quite simple pizzicato ending.
But best of all and most re-
warding was the Brahms. His
Second Symphony was the vehi-

iellowing
cle which showed that the Phil-
harmonia can handle with ease
meaty pieces such as this, be-
sides the dessert of Rossini.
The orchestra played the
Brahms better than most any-
thing they've attempted so far
this year. The ensemble troubles
were nil, the sound was steady
and secure, and Alcantara's in-
terpretation offered just the
control and restraint that was
necessary.
There is no need for me to
go through the movements of
this very well-known work; but
of the four, the development
section of the first movement
and the second movement
struck me as the best.
The intensity of the Philhar-
monia's performance had slack-
ened somewhat by the finale,
but credit must be given them
for a superb Brahms at the
close of a fine evening's music.

INTERNATIONAL PARTY
At the International Center FRI., NOV. 22
FREE admission, refreshments 9:00 P.M.-12:00 P.M.
EVERYONE WELCOME
Pace Dmonstration
Every day of the year in the
PEACE CORPS
Union & 3516 SAB Phone 763-1430

World Whopee!

1

I 11

NATIONAL- GENERAL CORPOAIN,
FOX EASTERN THEATRES ,
FOX VILL8GE
375 No. MAPLE RD. -769.1300
ENDS TUESDAY
MON.-THURS.-8:00
FI .-6:30-9:5
SAT.-3 :45-6:30-9:15
SUN.-1 :00-3:45-6:30-9:15
MIRISCH PICTURES presents
Sio

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I

THE U. S. PREMIERE OF

1

Maestro Blat
much of an opportunity to sing
as possible," Herbert, who is La
Boheme's producer, says. F o r
this reason, most major parts in
the opera are double-cast.
Blatt discounts as a myth the
statement that the strenuous-
ness of opera singing can dam-
age young voices.
"All professional singers start
young," he says. "The only pre-
requisite for good opera singing
is thorough training beforehand.
Aside from that, voices are de-
veloped onstage."
Although La Boheme is an
Italian opera, it is being pro-
duced in -English.
"We believe opera is drama,"
Blatt says. "All European and
most American opera produc-

i

THE

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Ii.--

. l

Center forSouth and Southey

ast Asian Studies

PRESENTS
T.R.V. MURTI
visiting Professor of Philosophy at
Brok University, Ontario
Former Spalding Professor of Eastern
Religions, University of Oxford
"THE PHILOSOPHY OF
MAHAYANA BUDDHISM"
FRIDAY, NOV. 22 4:00 P.M.
Rackhan Amphitheater
Public lecture
WKNR presents

Meet
UNION-LEAGUE PRESIDENT FLEMING
Friday, November 22, 1968
4-6 o'clock
815 South University Ave.

1.II ,.

}
__ I

I

I

I

ST 5142
and from this
exciting new
album, a great
single record
LITTLE
SISTER
onTOWER
FuMtr

*
4

I

Michel Ange
GODARP'S
LES CARABINIERS
SUNDAY, NOV. 24-Aud. "A"
7 and 9 p.m.
MONDAY, NOV. 25-Arch.
9 p.m. only,
"A great movie."-Renata Adler,
N.Y. Times
Also CHAPLIN. $1.25
SDS

I

Ticket Office Open Weekdays
I a.m. - 1 p.m., 2 p.m. - 5 p.m.

I

COBO ARENA
Sot., Nov. 30th 8:30 p.m.
Tickets: $6, $5, $4, $3
Mail Orders only to: Cobo Arena Box Office, Detroit, Michigan
48228. Include self-addressed, stamped envelope. In association
with Audio Arts.

RUSS GIBB presents in Detroit
THURSDAY, NOV. 21
BLUE CHEER & THE STOOGES

*
*

JANUS FILMS

I

/C
DIAL 5-6290
Daily at 1:00-3:45-6:30-9:10
Now for the
first time
at popular prices.
Direct from
its reserved-seat
engagement.
CrnLGT

Order Your Daily Now-
Phone 764-0558

I

POWERFUL!
There are at least two
sequences which deal with
sexual shockers.The audience
is brought very close to the
act, very powerfully so. ThereL
could be no question of the
sincerity and art intention of
this picture...It should probably.,
be limited to a mature,
serious-minded audience."
-Archer Winsfen, N. Post

"

I

7-11 P.M.

$2.50 Admission

FRIDAY and SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 22 and 23
TIM BUCKLEY & Terry Reid

8 P.M. to 1 A.M.

Admission $3.50

THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
SCHOOL OF MUSIC AND DEPARTMENT OF ART
Present
PUJCCINI'S
44LA BOHEME"
English Translation by Josef Blatt)

"SHOCKING!
A violent and admittedly
shocking film; we go beyond
homosexuality into perversion

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER,24
TWO GREAT SHOWS
THE JEFFERSON AIRPLANE
TERRY REID
LIGHTS by Glen McKay's HEADLIGHTS

4

Performances 5:30 & 8:30

Admission $5.00

f il

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