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January 09, 1971 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1971-01-09

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Page Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

. Saturday, January 9, 1971

THE MICHiGAN DAiLY Saturday, January 9, 1971
music
*\

x..

music
Orpheus' heads off
to the Underworld

images

ORGANIZATION
NOTICES
j Workshop on Legislative Action for
Abortion Repeal/Reform 1971" Mon.,
Jan. 11, 1971, 7:30 p.m. - 1040 Natural
Resources; sponsored by Zero Popula-
tion Growth.

CINEMA II
"LA DOLCE VITA"

Directed by Federico Fellini
Starring

1961

By JOHN HARVITH
As the house lights went down
on last night's performance of
Offenbach's Orpheus in the Un-
derworld by the Canadian Opera
Company, dreadful premonitions
of w ha t was to come ran
through my mind as I recalled
the University Musical Society's
disastrous opera presentations
of 1969/70: Bizet's Carmen and
Rossini's Barber of Seville, done
by the Goldovsky and Canadian
Opera Companies, respectively.
Granting that Hill Auditorium
is about as suitable for opera
productions as Michigan Stadi-
um (a situation which will hope-
fully be rectified when Power
Center is completed), the shab-
by sets, misguided stage di-
CORRECTION
Every now and again an er-
ror is made on this page which
proves most embarrassing. Yes-,
terday morning was one such
error. The group Little Feat
playing at Canterbury H o u s e
do not have big feet nor is,
their album named such. In-
stead, their album is named af-
ter themselves, Little Feat. The
Baily regrets the boo boo.
rection, mediocre singing, and
exaggerated histrionics (appar-
ently intended to substitute for
acting) which characterized both
the Carmen and Barber were
an insult to even the most un-
discerning opera buff.
All of the foregoing simply
serves to underscore the dearth
of opera performances as total
theater in the United States. By
"total theater" I mean an amal-
gamation of fine singers and
orchestra, tightly knit ensemble
work by the musical forces in-
volved, effective sets and stage
direction, and dramatically con-
vincing acting by the vocalists.
Perhaps only Sarah Caldwell's
Company in Boston, the Santa
Fe Company in New Mexico, and
occasionally the New York City
Opera ever succeed in. attaining
this standard of dramma per
musica. Certainly no troupe cur-
rently touring North America
has even aimed for a totally-
encompassing dramatic exper-
ience in opera.

Even the work chosen by the
Canadian Company - Offen-
bach's Orpheus, a tuneful piece
of inconsequential musical fluff
-can be considered serious op-
eratic fare only in an out-of-the-
way place like Beaver Falls, Pa.,
not in a sophisticated musical
metropolis, like Ann Arbor. Or-
pheus is aFrench Nineteenth
Century spoof on the weighty
operatic versions of the poignant
Greek legend by Monteverdi and
Gluck.
In Offenbach's operetta, the
protagonists are Orpheus and
Eurydice, a ;violinist and his
wife who abhors fiddle music,
especially when played by her
spouse-a couple obviously in
need of a marriage counselor, or
better yet, a divorce lawyer. Eu-
rydice jumps at the first avail-
able chance to escape from her
conceited musical bore of a
mate with the god Pluto, who
carries her off to Hades, while
Orpheus, for his part overjoyed
to be rid of his nagging wife, is
cajoled by his meddling mother
into halfheartedly rescuing Eu-
rydice "in the interest of myth-
ology". In the end, Jupiter sur-
prises everyone by secreting
Eurydice off to Olympus as Or-
pheus rejoices in his assured
single status.
This established plot line was
rather freely tempered with in
an unsuccessfully "cute" up-to-
date English translation. Trite
'60's expressions like "that's a
gas" hardly fit in with Offen-
bach, and are not even funny.
This cheap striving for slapstick
effect extended to the tasteless
costuming, shoddy sets, and
fake accents affected by the
principal character-s. Orpheus
became a Leo Slezak Italian vio-
lin teacher, complete with mus-
tache and pot- belly. Eurydice
was transformed into a plump,
middle - aged, brassy, B r o n x
housewife. Pluto adopted a pre-
posterously seductive Ezio Pin-
za, replete with malicious cackle
and knowing winks to the aud-
ience. Jupiter became a sort of
lecherous Captain Kangaroo be-
set by a restless mob of unruly
kids. It is tragic that these sing-
ers were type cast by an insipid
translation and mundane un-
imaginative stage direction into
a group of inherently unbeliev-
able puppets, each performer
playing up to the audience to

i

* * * *

Marcello Mastroianni and Monica Vito
The decadence of modern Rome

The Ageless Science of Yoga. Instruc-;
tion in the yoga exercises as taught by
qualified instructors. Sponsored by the
Self-Realization Fellowship. Call Dale
after 6 p.m. at 761-9825.
Committee of Concerned Asian Schol-
ars General meeting; Basement, Lane
Hall. Monday, January 11, 4:00 p.m.

Friday & Saturday
Jan. 8, 9

7-9:05 P.M.
Aud. A, Angell Hall

Coming Next Week:
UM Graduate Ouing/Club meet LI~~R SM A2 L4JRA "NOW

-Daily-Tom Gottlieb

t

see who could get the most
laughs. This is particularly true
since, for the most part, the
vocal work, both solo and en-
semble, was exemplary. I would
single out tenor Alan Crofoot
(Bacchus) for finespun long
phrases, superb breath control,
and poise in his taxing solo
aria, and soprano Lynda Booth-
by (Cupid) for her clear, ele-
gant vocalizing.
As I sadly watched the curtain
ring down on Orpheus, I re-
gretted that such first-rate tal-
ent had been wasted on a trivial
work by lackluster direction.
Here, I believed, was a company
that with the proper set design-
er and stage director could de-
velop into a major touring
organization devoted to con-
vincing musical theater. The in-
escapable conclusion is that the
University Musical Society is
coerced into bringing either sub-

standard opera productions to
Ann Arbor or no opera at all.
Perhaps no future imported
opera is the more viable alter-
native, since I personally don't
feel that importing (and thus
encouraging) a badly managed
touring company is improving
the already atrophied condition
of live opera in North America.
For instance, support could in-

stead go to local companies like
the Gilbert & Sullivan Society
or the School of Music, which
presently provide more effective
musical theater than that dis-
played last night. With more re-
hearsal time and meticulous
musical preparation, total the-
ater in opera may be well with-
in the grasp of a homegrown
Ann Arbor company.

UM Graduate outing Club meets IA CES R T U AN ,
every Sunday rain or shine at 1:30 p.m.
Meet at Huron side of Rackham where
cars will leave for an afternoon of hik-
ing. Dinner is optional after the hike.
Bach Club meeting 8:00 p.m. Thurs-
day, Jan. 14: South Quad - West
lounge. Program: "Life and Death Mat-
ters in Bach's Cantata 106" by Freder-
ick Stroup with' live performance by
Collegium Musicum. (Contralto, tenor,
bass, 2 recorders, cello, and keyboard).
Refreshments afterwards. Meet inter-
esting people! No musical knowledge
needed. Further info - call 764-7638 or 1H R D
971-7047.
* * * *
UM Folk Dance Club, every Fri. eve-AN C L
ning, 7:30-11:00_ p.m. Barbour Gym. A Af~ r~
Teaching from 7:30-9:00 p.m. Open to
all. * * * *FLUTE SOLO
Beit-Midrash (College of Jewish
Studies-Hillel) will hold registration on
Jan. 12, 13, 14. from 7:30-10:00 p.m. at
1429 Hill St. Courses to be offered are
Hebrew (all levels), Basic Judaism,
Jewish History, Israeli Culture and
more.
The Office of Student Organizations
would like to announce its new office (actually AndyKulberg does
:p.m. from Mon-Thurs. remember the Blues Project)
4SOUNDS YOU'VE NEVER EARD BEFORE
DIAL 8-6416
TODAY AT 1-3-5-7-9
ORSALINO'SCORES! SAT U R DAY JAN. 16 8:30 P.M.
Playboy A8agazineSA U AY
"ONE OF THE YEAR'SHDI TOR I UM
BEST FILMSI -HILL AU
with
DAVID. BROMBER0!
presented by
"Gangland French style!
lithleykilltalittle ltickets $2.50, $3.00, $3.50 on sale begin-
-N.Y. TIMES ning Tuesday at Union Lobby, Discount
Records and Students International
Litter doesn't throw
itself away; litter
"the mellowest #pund around"
doesn't just happen.. A. ZAPPA
People cause it-an
only people can prevent,'
It "Peoplemeans you.

1*

so

<..
i
k}
1
I

UnI able!

THE BEATLES

,;

presents
LITTLE FEAT
ZAPPING THE ATHENS OF WHATCHACALLIT
WITH COUNTRY ROCK AND TRUE
TONIGHT $2.00
8 P.M. Doors Open 330 MAYNARD
The alley was so strange I followed him there.-Alice

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day through Sunday morning Univer-
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carrier. $10 by mat
Summer Session published Tuesdayj
through Saturday morning. Subscrip-
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A 9d in
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RE-RELEASED THRU UNITED ARTISTS

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GALA
Gilbert and Sullivan Society
MASS MEETING
SUNDAY, JANUARY 10
8 P.M.-Michigan Union
We need singers, dancers, actors -- undergrads,
grads, non-music students, music students, etc.

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PmeTrbnN yFilm of the ear!"
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--

Sat., Sun., January 9-10
THE BLUE ANGEL
dir. JOSEPH VON STERNBERG (1930)

"1 GREAT FILM!"
-JOHN SCHUBECK, WABC-TV
"AN BSOLUI
LZ SMITH,
DELIGHT"Cosmopotta
"ELOGUIENT AND
IMPORTRNT!"

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