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October 03, 1978 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1978-10-03

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The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, October 3, 1978-Page 5

Carlos Santana needs a new.

back-

up

By WENDY GOODMAN
and MIKE TAYLOR
Some people are easily pleased.
Standing ovations, squeals of joy, and
the thrill of encore after encore. All are
earmarks of a successful concert. By
these standards, Sunday night's San-
tana concert at Hill Auditorium was a
triumph.
"Why don't we all stand up and dan-
ce!" urged lead singer Greg Walker as
the band sliced into a frenetic "Evil
Ways," the evening's last encore.
Obediently, the crowd flew to their feet
as the house lights went up and an hour
and forty minutes of music came to an
end. But it seemed, however, that most
were clapping by rote - not out of
genuine enthusiasm.
Though Carlos Santana and his per-
cussion section played with heart and
emotion, the rest of the band, par-
ticularly, the keyboard player, perfor-
med with a kind of listless, program-
med style that gave much of the music
a lush, over-stuffed quality.
Mismanagement marred the con-
cert's opening. The doors weren't
opened until just before 8 p.m., the
scheduled start of the show. When the
lights dimmed and the band hit the
stage at 8:20, many ticket holders were
still outside, waiting to be searched
before they could enjoy what they paid
for.
IT WAS CLEAR right from the
beginning that Greg Walker, although
not a bad singer, was ill-suited to be
Santana's vocalist; while the band tur-
ned out pulsating renditions of their
latin rock hits, he stood to one side,
miming the guitarists and sounding like
a soul singer. Where sharp fire was
needed, there was only soft, sweet soul.
Perhaps sensing the incongruity of
Walker's style, the sound engineers
mixed his voice low; this only made
things worse because the lyrics could
rarely be heard above the instrumen-
tation. It all added up to one
inescapable conclusion: Walker's
vocals should have been left off
altogether.
A lively' "Black Magic Woman" led
into the first of many extended solos by
band members. The spotlight on
Carlos, we watched in awe as his

fingers drew lovely melodies out of his
guitar. When he turned to his side and
began playing off the percussion sec-
tion, he generated a tightness and
exuberance that could only belong in
musical heaven.4
The crowd jumped up to give the
number a standing ovation, and San-
tana eased into a slippery "Dance
Sister Dance." But instead of staying
up and moving their bodies to the
music, everybody plopped down as if
the tune was something they had to
listen to intently. Here Santana traded
solos with his keyboard player. But it
was a. silly combination, since San-
tana's talent towered above his cohort.
SANTANA IS a superb guitarist, one
of the best among artists who have
achieved widespread popularity. Some
of his solos were so lyrical that his
guitar seemed to be singing. He made
the illusion complete when he threw his
head back, as if projecting sweet notes
from his own mouth.
He's at his peak on numbers like
"Europa (Earth's Cry Heaven's
Smile)," which is really just one long
guitar solo. He is a master of moods; by
changing his guitar tone and the per-
cussion, he can bring almost any
emotion into play. Beyond this, the bass
player, rhythm guitarist, keyboardist,
and vocalist seemed to be muddying
pristine waters.

The deficiencies of the band were
most clearly felt on two new numbers,
"Victory" and "Moving On." "Vic-
tory" opened with keyboards that could
have been stolen from any number of
Yes albums; though the percussion sec-
tion eventually took over, the clumsy
sound of artificial strings.invaded the
rest of the song. As the band shifted
from heavy metal rock to soul and back
again to latin rock, they seemed unsure
what mode they wished to use. The tune
came off as a lumbering, top-heavy
production. "Moving On" was worse,
however. A song with absolutely no
direction, it ambled about for about
twenty minutes before the band mer-
cifully brought it to an end,
SANTANA DREW the most response
for their hits, and deservedly sof for
songs like "Dance Sister Dane,"
"Black Magic Woman," and "She'sNot
There" were among the most tightly
performed songs of the evening. To be
sure, there was much to be enjoyed at
this concert.
Unfortunately, Carlos Santana is
stuck with a band that is so uninspiring
that we found ourselves wishing 'he
would just cast it all off and play for two
hours with just his percussion men. But
as that seems unlikely, we can only
hope that the next time Santana comes
to town, it's with a better supporting
cast.

Carlos Santana performed with his. band Sunday night in Hill Auditorium.
MO Tgives 'The Pearl Fishers'
much more thanvs
uch ore anit deser ves

By JEFFREY SELBST
Perhaps the nicest thing one can say
about Bizet's seldom-performed opera
The Pearl Fishers (in its English incar-
nation, oras it was known at the time of
its premiere, Les Pecheurs de Perles)
is that it deserves its obscurity. This
silly wor ought better to have been
called Four Characters in Search of
Something to Do. Dull. Yes, I think dull
is the best word. Never unmannerly,

The Pearl Fishers
By George Bizet
Michigan Opera Theatre
Music Hall

Zurga ........... .......... Jake Gardner
Nadir............................Rico Serbo
Leila ........ Leigh Munro, Carmen Balthrop
Nahourabad ...,..........Z. Edmund Tolliver
Dominic Messimi, director; Mark D. Flint,
,fusicul director
possessed of a few nice airs, the opera
no more nor less than a pageant to
form.
The story is as silly as anything in
opera. Act One opens on the rocky
seacoast of Ceylon, where a tribe of
pearl fishermen have just elected a
king, Zurga (played by Jake Gardner).,
After this ceremony, another man
comes onto the scene. His name (ap-
propriately) is Nadir, and he and King
Z :used to be pals. They broke up
because they were both in love with a
maiden, Leila. Upon Nadir's return,
they decided that no woman could ever
be worth breaking up a friendship over
(move over Redford & Newman).
NOW TROOPS onto the set a
procession of priests and slaves. First,
the high priest Nahourabad (Z. Ed-
mund Tolliver), then the sedan-chair
from which emerges the veiled virgin
wbo has been brought here to pray for
the safety of the fishermen. She is to
stand on the rocky seacoast day in and
out, and pray for 'them. She is also to
remain virginal, on pain of death.
These oaths are administered by King
Z. All of a sudden, she recognizes Nadir
(Rico Serbo). Gasp - it is he! Yes, she
is Leila (Leigh Munro, alternating with
Carmen Balthrop). King Z doesn't
know that she is Leila, but Nadir gets
him a little glimpse, and the fat is in the
fire. They sing about unquenched love,
and that's the act. Whew!
I'll make this short. Act II has
Nahourabad asking her for some token
that she'll keep her vows, so she gives
him a gold chain given her by a fugitive
she harbored some years ago
(presumably grateful). Then Nadir
comes in to plead for her love. She
relents. Whoops! Zurga comes in, sen-
tences her to death for breaking her
chastity .vows, and becomes doubly
enraged when he discovers that she is
Leila and that Nadir has broken his
word, too!
NOW, YOU couldn't have thought
that was all. Act III has Leila coming to
nlead for Nadir's life - nretty standard

- and she offers hers in return. Zurga
tells her what she can do with it (he is
annoyed with her). Until he sees the
chain (which she somehow got back
again). It is she! It is he! Yes, King Z
was the grateful fugitive of years ago.
Now he can't barbecue her and her
boyfriend, 'cause that just wouldn't be
nice. But the bier has already been
erected and Nadir has already been
tied to it. What to do?
What would anyone do in a nasty spot
like this,? King Z goes off and sets fire to
the town. Then the villagers rush off to
save their children and valuables from
the flames, and His Highness lets Nadir
and Leila go free. But not before wicked
Nahourabad sees this. The high priest
summons some of the townsmen, who
come back. The lovers and King Z
wasted a lot of time singing a trio, and.
the two just barely manage to get away.
The villagers kill King Z, who then gets
up and resumes the trio with the of-
fstage voices of the fleeing pair. Cur-
tain.
I saw Act One, Act Three, and about
r three-fifths of Act Two. Honestly, I had
bought a book of bridge puzzles just
that afternoon at Twelve Oaks Mall in
Novi, and Ijwas wishing I hadn't left it
in the car.
THE CHORUS, which is onstage
about half the time, was a finely-tuned
ensemble. Their direction, by the unfor-
tunate Dominic Missimi, was atrocious.
Met-style, they stood in pageant con-
figurations throughout the so-called
tempestuous scenes. This contributed
to the static nature of the action.
The score is fairly pretty, though the
duet between Nadir and Leila in Act II
is about as dull as anything I've heard
in years (that was the part of the act
where I dozed off. I started snoring, and

this enormous woman with'jiggly fat
under her arms poked me, informed me
I was snoring, whereupon I promptly
shifted positions and went back to
sleep. She had flowers on her hat, so I
felt I need pay no attention to her.
The sets cost Michigan Opera
Theater a fortune. There was an enor-
mous muslin of batik design for a back-
drop, and various side drops and large
scenic things that hung over the set,
which consisted mostly of platforms.
It was quite attractive, though it always
seemed slightly off-balance. I wanted
badly to go up on stage and straighten it
up.
THE PERFORMANCES of the prin-
cipals were excellent. Leigh Munro, in
particular, was appealing and dynamic
as Leila, though her costume, bound
underneath her breasts and at her
waistline, bulged horribly at the mid-
section and actually made her look fat
(which she is not). The chorus seemed
to be selected for physical beauty but
the principals for operatic ability. This
is perhaps asit should be.
It was an exemplary production, and
MOT should be lauded for exhuming old
works and dusting them off. Too often,
the public forgets that when a dynamic
company takes chances, they are oc-
casionally going to bomb: This opera
should be put back into the trunk. But
paradoxically, MOT should be given
high marks for trying what no one else
would dare. The result is, however, un-
fortunate. But preferable to Wagner.
Oh, certainly preferable to Wagner.

The hourst
are long,
but this
the pay is
lousy.
But as a volunteer
you'll get to help America
stand a little taller. And you'll
stand a little taller yourself.
America needs your help or
we wouldn't be,asking. Your
community needs your help.
People 18 or 80: we don't care
as long as you do. VISTA is
coming alive again. Come alive
with us. VISTA. Call toll free:
800-424-8580. VISTA
A PuServieof
The Adverirsing Councri

i4
A 1-)+ SPECIAL ATTRACTION
aa
The Qther Half
by Elinor Jones directed by Amy Saltz-
The wprds of the world's greatest female writers come to life in this new.
ploy with music by KATHRIN KING SEGAL. Using journals, speeches,
letters, poems, and songs, the ploy illuminates the lives of over twenty
women writers, from 600 B.C. to the present and including the works of
VIRGINIA WOOLF, JANE AUSTEN, MARY SHELLEY, EDNA ST. VINCENT
MILLAY, the BRONTE SISTERS, JOAN DIDlON, and LILLIAN HELLMAN.
It is a tribute to the spirit, dedication, and creativity ot all womanhood.
8p Bm T ayOctober 3
Tickets AvalIbte at the PT P Ticket Office
Michigan League, 764-0450
and g 1s, at the doolr.

The College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
DISTINGUISHED SENIOR.
FACULTY LECTURE SERIES'
PROF. WILLIAM K. FRANKENA
Roy Woods Sellars Professor of Philosophy
will lecture on
"THINKING ABOUT MORALITY"
Wed., October 4."What Is Morality?"
Fri., October 6-"What Is Being Moral?"
Thurs., October 12--"Why Be Moral?"
All lectures In Rackham Amphitheatre, 8:00 p.m.
admission complimentary

THIS WEEK.
VIEWPOINT LECTURES presents: k
October 3: WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY, author and editor-founder{
of the National Review, syndicated columnist and host of "Firing Line"
on PBS. Hill Auditorium, 8 p.m. Tickets $1.50 and can be purchased at
Ticket Central or at the door.
UM ARTISTS AND CRAFTSMEN GUILD presents:
THIS WEEK-Classes begin-14 art and craft classes. 6 special.
weekend workshops taught by active professionals in the Ann Arbor
area. Open to students and non-students; introductory and advanced.
Register on 2nd floor of Michigan Union. $24.00 for 8 weeks and supplies.
MEDIATRICS presents:
October 5: "THE LOVED ONE." Something to offend everyone.
Evelyn Waugh's satire on the mores and morals of Hollywood and the
funeral business is scripted for an outrageous ribald treatment directed
with exuberant high jinx by Richardson. Also featuring Liberace, Jona-
athon Winters and Rod Steiger. 7:00 and 9:00 in the Union.
October 6: "THE GOODBYE GIRL." Right out of first run in
the theatres. Neil Simon's hit starring Richard Dreyfuss and Marsha
Mason. A delightful story about love in New York City. 7:00 p.m. and
9:00 p.m., Natural Science Auditorium.
October 7: "LADY SINGS THE BLUES." Based on Billie Holi-
day's biography. "In this film, theface, the figure and the sound of Diana
Ross have become Billie Holiday."-Ralph Gleason, Rolling Stone. 7:00
and 9:30, Natural Science Auditorium.
UNION PROGRAMMING presents:
October 7: CIDER AND DONUTS. Reception in front of the
Union before/after the football game.
October 8: FLEA MARKET-students and others can buy, sell,
and swapgoods by renting a table in the Union. 8:00 noon-8 p.m.,,Union
Ballroom. Student rental $1.00, others $5.00.
UAC SPECIAL EVENTS presents:
October 8: CHINESE CULTURAL FAIR-Exhibition of Chinese
Arts/ special Chinese food, preparation and testing. Michign Union
Conference room 3, 4, 5, 6. Free.

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