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January 16, 1979 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1979-01-16

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The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, January 16, 1979-Page 5

'Figaro'

a happy marriage

C

4

f

19

By MARK JOHANSSON
Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro has
been described by one writer, as a
"perfect," popular opera -
"popular" because it is frequently
performed and neither the public or
musicians show signs of getting tired of
listening, and "perfect" in the way
sensitivity and delicacy of musical
construction are combined with a
common touch. Any group attempting a
production of this work must know it
well, because of many opera goer' s
great familiarity with Firago and their
preconceived standards and
expectations.
For the Canadian Opera Company,
The Marriage of Figaro was a good
choice to take on tour. The opera needs
only a small orchestra, the cast is not
very large and, because of its
familiarity, audienceshave the
potential to appreciate the work more
than many other operas. Another
reason everything seems to be

successful is that the Canadian Opera
Company performs Firago so well, as
they demonstrated Sunday in Power
Center.
THE STORY of the opera is fairly
simple on the surface, but involves a
number of subplots and subtle actions.
To the original audience it was an opera
on a contemporary subject with strong
political undertones - for a period of
time it was even banned. Based on a
famous French play by the author
Beaumarchais, the piece was a sequel
to another about the same character,
The Barber of Seville.
In The Barber of Seville, Figaro is the
barber who outwits Rosina's stupid
guardian Bartolo and smooths the way
for the marriage of Count Almaviva
and Rosina. Now, in The Marriage of
Figaro, Rosina hag become the
Countess and Figaro is the Count's
servant. He and the Countess's maid
Susanna are betrothed, and the action

is set in Eighteenth-century Spain, in
the palace of Count Almaviva, near
Seville.
At the beginning of the first scene,
Figaro learns the Count has been
flirting with Susanna and schemes to
outwit him, Susanna becomes upset
when she hears the elderly Marcellina
and her master, Doctor Bartolo,
planning to sue Firago in order to make
The marriage of Figaro
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Po) iir ('nter
JanuaryN14, 1979
Fifaro....................Ingemar Korjus
Susanna..................Caralyn Tomlin
Dr. Bartolo................John Dodington
Marcellina..................Darlene Hirst
Cherubino...............Kathleen Murison
Count Almaviva ................. Gino Quilico
D~on IBasilio.................... Gerard Boyd
Countess Almaviva.........Roxolana Roslak
Antonio.................Herman Rombouts
Don Curzio ........... . Steven Young
Barbarina .....................Iris raser
Peter McCoppin enumdor; John
Leberg, direcr Mary Kerr, sed s u
cmnvtemm Suzanne
Maynard, uae ,owner
him either marry Marcellina or pay
back the money he borrowed from her.
SOON THE PAGE Cherubino enters,
asking Susanna's protection, as the
Count has just found him trying to
seduce the gardener's daughter. When
the Count approaches, Cherubino hides
while the Count tries to flirt with
Susanna. The Count discovers the page
and gives him a commission in the
army to get rid of him. The Count then
tries to force Figaro to marry
Marcellina, and summons a notary, but
the plans are foiled when it is
discovered Figaro is really
Marcellina's and Dr. Bartolo's long-lost
son.
The Countess complicates matters by
dictating a note for Susanna to give to
the Count asking him to meet her in the
garden. The two women exchange
identities and clothing so the Count can
be tricked into attempting a rendezvous
with his wife, who he takes to be
Susanna. All the characters end up in,,
the moonlit garden and after nearly
everyone is confused by mistaken
identities, the Count realizes he has
been fooled, asks for his wife's
forgiveness and finally consents to the
marriage of Firago and Susanna.
TRANSLATED INTO English by
Ruth and Thomas Martin, the
amusing libretto by Lorenzo de Ponte
and the delightful music of Mozartwere
given smooth, sparkling performances
by the Canadian Opera Company. All
the separate details contributed to the
overall effect of a flowing continuity in
the story and musical lines, and I saw
no unseemly pauses.
Each singer, to differing degrees, had
a fine voice, and their diction and
intonation were both superb and
consistent. Besides having loads of
singing talent, this group can act too,
and an outstanding moment occurred in
the second act as Mozart gives a
conversational element to a scene
where Figaro finds out who his real
parents are. The phrases "his
mother?" and "his father?" pass
between members of the sextet as
Figaro rushed back and forth between
Marcellina and Dr. Bartolo.
In addition to good casting, the
costumes also aided in character
development. The differences between
the Count and Figaro were indicated by
their voices and clothing. The Count
sang with a forceful and perhaps more
refined tone, while Figaro's voice was
more lilting and carefree. The
costumes further exposed the
personalities of the two men, as the
Count wore the distinctive clothes of a

dashing, young nobleman while
Figaro's costume indicated his
cleverness and whimsical character.
The similar voices of the Countess and
Susanna illuminated their common
sensibility and high spirits, but their
dresses quickly told who was the maid
and who was the mistress.

THE FOUR sets are simple and similar,
in fact all really being variations on a
basic frame, with panels covered with
designs of trees, plants and flowers.
Although in some cases all the parts of
a room looked the same (once, what
looked like sections of paneling turned
out to be doors) the simplicity did not
detract: instead it helped focus
attention on the story and the
characters. By the end of every scene
all areas of space had been used for at
least some action.
The orchestra, conducted by Peter
McCoppin, had a good sound for its
perhaps bulky size, and a crisp, light
tone. The tempi were energetic in most
cases but unity and precision were
sometimes lacking, and often the tempo
seemed to rush the vocalists instead of
following them.
The two leads, Ingemar Korjus,
baritone, as Figaro, and Caralyn
Tomlin, soprano, as Susanna, gave the
most consistent acting and singing
performances. They played and sanf
their capricious roles confidently yet
with a carefree air, and gave their
parts depth and excitement.
As Count and Countess Almaviva,
Gino Quilico, baritone, and Roxolana
Roslak, soprano did a convincing job in
their contrasting and more emotional
roles. Others outstanding were
Kathleen Murison, mezzo-soprano, as
the mischievious and headstrong
Cherubino, and Gerard Boyd, tenor,
who sang the stereotypical role of the
scheming, opportunistic, and
effeminate music teacher Don Basilio.

6

... ,..

Looking for the intellectual side of life?
Rc
Read the Michigan Daily

Work With Kids at
CAMP TAMARACK
Brighton and Ortonville, Michigan. Jobs for counselors,
specialists, supervisors, and many other camp positions.
Interviewing, January 18 & 31
Summer Placement Office
CALL 763-4116 for an appointment. Camp Tamarack is the Jewish
Residential Camp sponsored by the Fresh Air Society of Metropolitan Detroit,
6600 West Maple Road, W. Bloomfield, MI 48033. 313/661-0600. Please call or
write us for application or additonal information.
' COUPON COUPON 3
' ~2 for 1 Special'
' Buy 1 Super Salad-Get 1 FREE,
Fresh greens, tomatoes, imported Swiss cheese,
mushrooms, cauliflower, olive, and alfalfa sprouts
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Good Tuesday, Jan.16
through Thursday, Jan. 18
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5:i .o:. *

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Dynamic Duo
Nicholas Pennell and Marti Maraden perform in "This Fair Child of Mine," ar
all-Shakespearean program about parents and children in the Bard's plays. The
how begins Friday and Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. in the Trueblood Theater.
joshua peck
From the wings
The Guest Artist series; the Best of Broadwvay; the Show-
case productions; special Professional Theater Program
events, Musket; its kid brother, the Soph Show; Speech
Department shows, Ann Arbor Civic, the Actors Ensemble;
the Back Alley Players; the School of Music; Gilbert and
Sullivano; the Comic Opera Guild; Canterbuy shows, the
Fisher and Attic Theaters in Detroit; and I've probably
forgoten a few. The range and scope of Ann Arbor and
vicinity's theatrical presentations are almost too much for a
smallish newspaper to handle. This column, we earnestly
hope, will help to take up some of the slack; to inform stage
buffs more fully about goings on in our little world of theater
than might otherwise be possible.
First up for mention is the tribute Sunday afternoon to Dr.
Eva Jessye in the Union's Pendleton room. Jessye celebratd
her 84th birthday by giving an informal lecture on the per-
formance history of George and Ira Gershwin's Porgy and
Bess, a history that is inextricably bound up with her own.
Following the good doctor's illuminating and amusing
talk, Willis Patterson, chairman of the Music School's voice
department, and soprano Delores Ivory Davis sang some ex-
cerpts from the opera. The Music School and Pendleton
people are to be commended. More of this sort of thing will be
welcome.
NEWS FROM MUSKET, the student musical bunch: the
spring show will be On the Town, Leonard Bernstein's first
effort (you might have seen the movie version on television in
the wee hours of the morning). This one could be good, as Jim
Martin, a doctoral pre-candidate considerably more able
than Musket's usual commanders, will be directing. Try-outs
will be later this month.
For the last few years, Musket has played in the Men-
delssohn Theater in the fall, and in Power Center in the
spring. From now on, sources report, the company will airm
for the larger Power Center both semesters.
DISAPPOINTMENT: William Windom's one-man Ernie
Pyle show, scheduled for this Sunday, has been postponed,
and possibly cancelled. Check at the PTP box office in the
League for refunds.
THE NEXT GUEST ARTIST SHOW is to be Gogol's The
Inspector General, also under the direction of Jim Martin.
Originally, the visiting professional was to have been
Frederick Coffin, a University graduate and an actor of im-
pressive credentials. Coffin, unfortunately, has cancelled in
favor of another engagement and has been replaced by
Phillip LeStrange, a New York pro best known for his work in
soaps. Director Martin is working over the script of the show
a bit, adding vulgarities and vernacular so as to contem-
porize the humor. Should be a treat.
NEXT TIME: tributes to hitherto neglected performers.
Your suggestions and criticisms are most humbly solicited.
The Ann Arbor Film Cooperative present at Aud A
TUESDAY, JANUARY 16
ROLLERBABIES
(Carter Stevens, 1976) 7 & 10:20-AUD A
Triple X-rated. More erotic than THE DEVIL IN MISS JONES; perkier than
DEEP THROAT: more arousina than BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR, this hard-core

Just for the
health of it,
Get moving, America!
Physical Education Public Information
AoricanA liance for Heith
Physical Education and Recreaton
1201 16th St N W Washington D C 20036

mmw

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Now Showing, Campus Area Butterfield Theatres

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