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January 14, 1979 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-01-14

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

'LaTi
By JOSHUA PECK
Michigan Opera Theater's current
production of Verdi's La Traviata is
quite a bit better than the company's
last troubled effort, Show Boat, though
it is not without a few major difficulties.
Still, M.O.T. 's effort has its good points,
most especially New York Opera star
Catherine Malfitano in the title role.
Malfitano's work on the many dif-
ficult runs and trills her role (Violetta,
by name) calls for is precise and lovely.
Her acting seems a bit stilted at first
but improves as the evening
progresses. By the time she reaches her
deathbed in the final act, she has
become utterly believable, largely
owing to her tearfully beautiful vocal
work.
La Traviata is based on a play, La
Dame Aux Camelias, by Alexandre
Dumas fils, which in turn stems from
Dumas fils' book of the same name. Its
plot concerns the consumptive cour-
tdsan.
La Traviata
Guiseppi Verdi
Music Hall, Detroit
January 12, 14, 17, 19, 20
Violetta Valery..........Catherine Malfitano
Marquis d'Obigny............. Steven Horak
Flora Bervoix ................Meredith Parsons
Dr. Grenvil .......................David Kline
Alfredo Germont .............. Barry McCauley
Annina..............Frances Brockington
Giorgio Germont ................. Brent Ellis
Joseph ...................Jerry Minster
Servant ................Stephen Mark Pickover
Dr. David DiChiera, director; Robert M. Heuer,
inanthging director; Christopher Alden, stage
director; Randall Behr, conductor; John
Wright Stevens, production designer;
Robert Yohn, choreographer.
Violetta Valery (Marguerite Gautier
in the book) and her doomed love affair
with one Alfredo Germont, a young

raviata' modest success

The Michigan Daily-Sunday, January 14, 1979-Page-
Escapist violence

makes Dawn
By ANNESHARP

fun

blueblood whose father disapproves of
the whole romantic mess. Germont
senior visits Violetta in the second act
and asks her to leave Alfredo for the
sake of the family name.
VIOLETTA AGREES to abandon
Alfredo out of her love for him, and she
leaves a note indicating that she is no
longer cares for him, so as to spare him
the knowledge of the real reason. They
bump into each other at a Paris party,
and Alfredo grossly insults her in full
view of the assembled high society
folks, to their, and even the elder Ger-
mont's, dismay.
In the final act, Violetta is within
.hours of her death, her tuberculosis
finally having caught up with her. She
is alone in the world, until: Alfredo
rushes in, offering his apologies and his
renewedamorous intentions, followed
by his father, who at last is prepared to
sanction their union. Violetta rises to
her feet, sings joyfully for a while, and
then, not surprisingly, keels over at
Alfredo's feet. The end.
Of such melodrama is wonderful
opera made. Verdi's score, from the
first delicate strains of lilting violin in
the overture, to the elegant strumpet's
hopelessly hopeful swan song just
before the final curtain, Verdi's opera
is an extravagant, multi-colored
masterpiece.
MUSICAL DIRECTOR Randolph
Behr handles the large orchestra and
cast well, rarely letting the instrumen-
tal work get out of hand. At times, the
strings seem to shake and screech a bit,
but generally all is well with this part of
the production.
In the first act, a tape of the orchestra
is played from offstage to simulate a
dance orchestra in another room.
Music Hall ought to invest a little
money in its amplification system, as
here the sound comes off as just plain

George Romero, the creator of such distinguished horror films as Night
of the Living Dead and Martin, appeared Thursday night at Angell Hall,
courtesty of the Ann Arbor Film Coop, for a test screening of his newest film,
Dawn of the Dead.
A large, enthusiastic audience filled- Auditorium A to capacity, and
ushers turned away scores of would-be viewers not lucky enough to obtain
tickets for this free preview of the film. This was the second U.S. showing of
Dawn of the Dead, now in its final stages of production. Romero, who wrote
and directed in the film, as well as playing a small cameo role, brought it to
Ann Arbor in order to see how the relatively knowledgeable audiences would
react. He estimates that the completed version will reach commercial
theatres, including the Movies at Briarwood, during the second week-in
April.
THE FILM IS a sequel to Romero's 1968 cult classic, Night of the Living
Dead. Both films depict corpses which rise from the dead to devouir live
human beings. Romero is planning a third film, Day of the Dead, another'
sequel, which will be released sometime in the late1980s.
Technically, Dawn improves on its low-budget, black-and-white
predecessor, Night of the Living Dead, in use of color photography and gory
special effects. Well-received by the audience, the film featured much
violence and bloody, mutilated flesh, prompting one viewer to ask Romero,
during a question-and-answer period after the film, "Are you a vegetarian?",
"Did you find the violence necessary to the film's meaning?" asked
another student.
"OBVIOUSLY, I THINK," Romero replied. "It's partly what the film's
about." He added later on, "I don't find this kind of violence to be offensive,-
because I think it's very clear that this is only a film." He does object to the
violence in a film like Every Which Way But Loose, which, he says, makes"
anarchistic mayhem as a way of life seem attractive to audiences: Dawn's
violence is escapist fun, "like a rollercoaster-a laugh in the dark."
Romero's assistants distributed questionnaires to the audience prior to
the film. Sample questions: "Do you like the title?" "What specific sequen-
ces would you cut, if any?" "Did you find the violence offensive? fun?" The
producer of Dawn, Richard Rubenstein, its director of photography, and
makeup and special effects coordinator also answered audience's questions.

Alfredo (Barry McCauley) tells Violetta (Catherine Malfitano) that they can
return to the country and restore her health. The scene is from La Traviata,
an opera running at the Music Hall in Detroit.

pppp- --.

chintzy. Ditto for the third act sequence
when both chorus and orchestra are
thus insulted.
Perhaps this Traviata's greatest ob-
stacle is the uninteresting Barry Mc-
Cauley as Alfredo. His voice is under-
nourished, and many of his sustained
notes are distressingly unclear. The
tragic effect of the opera is even
mitigated somewhat by the unattrac-
tive way Germont carries himself. One
can hardly imagine that the two lovers'
life together would have been wonder-
ful with such an uninspired gentleman
as this.
BETTER, BUT in smaller roles, are
Steven Horak and Dan Boggess as Dr.
Grenvil and Joseph, respectively. Both
handle their smallish parts im-
pressively, and with luster. One wishes
that Boggess had had a crack at the
Alfredo role.
Brent Ellis as the older Germont had
problems, just as did his stage son. Par-
ticularly when the orchestra was silent
during occasional passages, Ellis soun-
ded weak to the point of being un-
melodic.
p

THE SETS, like the show as a whole,
were possessed of elements both
magnificent and mundane. Huge
mirrored windows set a grand scene for
the party scenes; but what were they
doing onstage behind the lovers' coun-
try hideaway? They severely marred
the idyllic possibilities of the sequence.
Bad too, was the lack of attention
given the lower part of the set for the
party scenes. Badly scuffed, and
bedecked with beat-up rugs randomly
thrown about; the floor made for a
visual absurdity when contrasted with
the grandeur above.
The Spanish dance by Robert Yohn
and Selby Beebe, and choreographed
by Yohn, is just barely endurable. Both
conception and execution are
unabashedly unfocused, and the mad
scrambling the two engage in leaves
the audience profoundly grateful for its
finish.
But even severe disappointments like
the dance and McCauley's bumbling
cannot overshadow the essential charm
of the production as a whole. Verdi
lovers needn't stay away.

Do a Tree a
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ANGELICA P
&
JACQUELINE
aw woman
january 9

DOZO
ELLENS
show
- 26
Lie. -Fri. 1 i -
;at, Sun. 12- b
764-3234

Dance yer feet sore

reception :
Jan1l2 7-

-9pm

ru,
S

during today

's fest

i R
FIRST FLOOR MICHIGAN UNION

By KATIE HERZFELD
Dig out your dancing shoes, take out
your Sunday leotards! Today is Ann
Arbor's first Michigan Dance Day.
Several dancers from Monroe,
Jackson, Ypsilanti, and Ann Arbor
will be getting together today at the
dance building next to CCRB. In this
first Michigan Dance Day, community
members can take classes in all kinds
of dance: ballet, Afro-American, jazz,
disco, modern, and even belly dancing.
Following the classes, a free perfor-
mance will be given by local dance
companies and studios, and a solo will
be presented by a UM graduate
student.
The festivities are sponsored by this
region of the Michigan Dance
Association (MDA), an outgrowth of
the Michigan Council for the Arts. Vera
Embree, one of the founding members
of MDA and a dance professor at
Michigan, explained that the
association was formed in 1976 to
promote dance, give dancers a chance
to communicate with one another, and
provide an organization which would
actively raise funds for dance.
IN THIS FIRST big day of activities
for the region Ms. Embree said, "we
want to join together to acquaint the

community with the various personnel
and studios in the area. The day enables
students and community people to take
a potpourri of dance-and see what suits
them." Christopher Watson, the chair-
person of this region, hopes that today's
activities will encourage more com-
munication between dancers in studios
and universities.
Classes are open for high school
students through adults. Those in-
terested should arrive about twenty
minutes before the class is scheduled,
and wear leotards. From 11:00 to 12:30,
intermediate ballet, Afro-American,
and improvisationbclassesare
scheduled. During a break for lunch,
Elizabeth Bergmann, chairperson of
the UM dance department, will talk
about the future of dance in Michigan,
and Joyce Malm will give a brief report
on current research on dance. At 1:30,
belly dancing, intermediate .modern
dance, and jazz will be offered. Disco,
beginning modern, and a children's
dance class (for six-year-olds through
high school) are scheduled from 3:15 to
4:15.
Classes which are geared towards
beginners, are $3.00 each-you can take
three for $6.00-and the 5:00 perfor-
mance is free.

Entertainment Comes
to the Stage Door!
Crooning
Singer Steve Cole entertains with show
tunes and songs from the Thirties and
Forties every Monday from 8 p.m. until
closing. No cover charge. Drinks at regu-
lar prices.
Starting Monday, Jan. 15, 1979.
300 S. Thayer Across from Hill Auditorium
I ....

Ann Arbor C ei Theatre Auditions
LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC
JANUARY 17-MASS MEETING-7:30 pm
JANUARY 17, 18, 19, : 20th call backs
ROLES AVAILABLE 6 WOMEN ages 13-70
3 men ages 20-50
The Liebeslieders, persons of the community
(2 sopranos, mezzo, Tenor, Baritone)
ALLI ROLEFS ARE SING.ING~ ROLES TIHI MUSIC IS SOMEWHAT DIFFICULT.

CHOOSING A COLLEGE MAJOR?
CHOOSING A CAREER?
CAREER SATISFACTION LATER
requires careful planning and evaluation NOW.
Knowing your natural abilities can help you make the right
decisions. If you are considering choices that will affect your
career future, an ASSESSMENT OF APTITUDES is a useful first
phase in your planning.
It can provide you with the criteria necessary for making EDU-
CATIONAL PLANS, CAREER DECISIONS, and LIFE GOALS.
JOHNSON O'CONNOR RESEARCH FOUNDATION
HUMAN ENGINEERING LABORATORY

The MSA Campaign To
Revitalize The
Michigan Union continues
On Jan. 18 the Regents will vote on whether or not
to reorient the Michigan Union to student needs.
There is MUCH TO LOSE and MUCH TO GAIN:
new lounges, expanded services and programs, a
variety and quality-oriented food service, a focus on
responsiveness and usability, and MUCH MORE.
We must all pull together on this one--students, or-
ganizations, faculty, concerned others.
WE NEED A STUDENT UNION!
Here's how to help:
* Come to the Regents' Meeting Thurs., Jan.
18, 1 p.m. at Admin. Bldg.
" Join the Post-Card Campaign-Send the
Regents a card. Stamped anc addressed post
cards are waiting at the MSA office 3rd floor of
the Union. Talk to your friends. Get your
opinion out.
" Call the Reants.

I

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