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January 25, 1978 - Image 7

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1978-01-25

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The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, January25, 1978-Page 7.

'Student Prince'

I - --1-


T HE MICHIGAN Opera Theater has
made it a point in recent years to
offer American opera and operetta in
addition to the standard Italian, French
and German fare, exemplified by such
works as Washington Square, Regina
The Student Prince
Music Hall
Detroit, Michigan
Prince Karl Franz..................... Charles Roe
Kathy ........ ............. Mary Wakefield
Dr. Engel ................. Andreas Poulimenos
Princess Margaret.......Mary Callaghan Lynch
Music by Sigmund Romberg
Book and Lyrics by Dorothy Donnelly
Tad Tadlock, Director
Mark D. Flint, Music Director
Produced by Michigan Opera Theater
and Sigmund Romberg's The Student
First performed in 1925 at the Shu-
bert-Lafeyette Theater in New York, it
became a standard, if not overdone,
favorite of the thirties and forties, even-
tually becoming a popular movie with

Mario Lanza in the title role. Its mag-
netic appeal can be traced to the mel-
lifluous, lush and stirring music rather
than the corny and melodramatic spok-
en libretto. The Michigan Opera Thea-
ter's performance has done justice to
the show, combining marvellous sing-
ing with stunning visual display and in-
corporating unusual theatrical
The story begins with a young, hand-
some and sheltered Prince, Karl Franz,
who travels to the University of Hei-
delberg. He's been filled with romantic
notions of university life by his mentor,
Dr. Engel, an alumnus. Residing at an
inn, Franz falls in love with the bar-
maid Kathy, but has already been
promised to his cousin, Princess Mar-
Just as the two young lovers are
about to elope, Franz is called back to
Karlsberg because of his grandfather's
illness, and eventually becomes king.
Two years elapse, as Franz repeatedly
extends his wedding with Princess Mar-
garet. In a fit of sentimentality, he de-
cides to return to his school town.

tasty rt
He is preceded, however, by Mar-
garet, who asks Kathy to give up Franz.
Margaret hopes that he will then fall in
love with her. Kathy fabricates a mar-
riage with her cousin in Vienna, and the
Prince, rejected, asks for one last
chorus of "The Students' Serenade" be-
fore he bids farewell to his fantasy and
resumes his duty.
are so heavy-handed ("Karl, Franz,
you'll never come back, never" ...
choke, sob, cry) good singers are a
must for The Student Prince, and we
were provided with some of the best.
Charles Roe's powerful and touching
tenor along with Mary Wakefield's lilt-
ing and girlish soprano wereperfect for
the heart-stirring duet, "Deep in My
Heart, Dear." They were consistently
articulate, mellow and tender, taking
us on flights of fancy every time they
Andreas Poulimenos as Dr. Engel
emphasized the romantic and fantasy
quality of the operetta with a car-
ressing baritone which made his solo,

"Golden Days," a pleasant and senti-
mental hearkening back to old Heidel-
berg. The chorus was well-balanced
and had a full tone, and the minor leads
were also splendid.
Several other aspects of the produc
tion stood out, besides the high quality
of the singing. In addition tohthe colorf l,
and imaginative imported Italian setsi
the designer used a scrim with slide
projections - when memory was re-
called, the character appeared from
behind the scrim, hazy but visible. The
technique was marvellously effective,
except that occasional movement could
be seen going on behind. The addition of
a pas de trois at the beginning of Act TIT
was a pleasant and realistic attraction'
for the royal ball and for us.
For all of the show's sweeping.
romance, there were some minor,
problems. The microphones were often-
distracting, especially Anastasia's.
mike, which muffled her tone. The showi
also got off to a slow start, due mainly
to stiff and stylized gestures, along with
some awkward pauses.
In essence, the action was not smooth
arnd flowing until Act II. Here too, thI-
pictorial aspect of the scenes weri
marred by linear, choreography, tl
chorus stringing across the stage...A
more interesting use of stage space was
employed in the Act II finale. Here the
cast did not resemble Rockettes or the
June Taylor Dancers, but wei
packaged in several formatiori$
throughout the inn.
These problems may appear glaring
but the show relies so heavily upon thi
singing that everything else fades
comparison. If you get a chance, arW
feel a bit romantic, drop into the Muse
Hall. You won't be disappointed.
The Universityof Michigan
1)l Professional Theatre Program
4S t
(A FMy $y EkWt> on'in
February 1-4ett pm.
Trueblood heaalre
University Showcase Jod4cionsĀ°
JANUARY 27, Spm/ 28. 2 & Spm /- 28, 2 & 8pm



Meredith Parsons, left, appears with Kenneth Young, right, in the Michigan
Opera Theatre's production of The Student Prince.
Rampal carres

to season
Rampal with the Detroit Symphony Or-
chestra last Saturday not only fulfilled
a long-anticipated desire, but was one
of the orchestra's best performances so
far this year.
The orchestra was masterfully led by
guest conductor Werner Torkanowsky,
but the star of the evening was Rampal,
perhaps the best known flutist today,
who was making his debut performance
with the DSO.
Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Ford A udioriumn
Saturday, January 21
;Overture to Egmont ....... ........... Beethoven
Concerto or Flute .........Katchaturian-Rampal
Symphony No. 4 in F minor ........... Tchaikovsky
Jean-Pierre Rampal, flute
Werner Torkanowsky, conductor
The enening opened with
Beethoven's, famous Overture to
Egmont. Accenting sections with a
shake of his head and a broad sweep of
his arms, German-born conductor
Torkanowsky led the orchestra through
the various themes of the brief piece,
reaching a powerfully executed con-
clusion during the concluding "victory"
The highlight of the evening,
however, was Rampal's performance
of his own transcription of Aram
Khachaturian's Violin Concerto. Ram-
pal proved himself without question to
be an unparalleled master of the flute.
THE ADAPTATION from violin to
flute might have proven a dismal
failure at the hands of a lesser talent,
but Pampal perfectly captured the
idiom of his instrument. Almost un-
changed from the original work, the
only major addition to the Russian
composer's emotion laden work was a
lengthy cadenza towards the conclusion
of the first movement. A showcase for
the technical mastery of the French
flutist, this complex passage seemed to
flow as easily as if he were practicing
While the second movement is passed
over by many critics as too slow and
low in Rampal's transcript, it certainly
was not evident here. Building slowly
and quietly, the flute reached the upper
ranges with sterling quality. The brief
basson statement that follwed was sick
by comparison.
The low range of the tessiture proved
solemn and haunting; the deep tone ad-
ded an enchanting melancholy rather
than a hollowness, providing deep-
rooted mystery to the full orchestral
passages. Surging with power, the or-
chestra was able to attain a sinuous
burst of Eastern magic.
The highly intricate third movement,
Allegro Vivace, was the most obvious
display of Rampal's virtuosity.
Covering the full range of the flute,
alternately forceful and then gently ex-
on the

'S triumph
pressive, the master flutist accented
each break with a dip of his head.
Throughout this concluding movement,
passages demonstrated both Rampal's
incredible technical ability as well as
the truly beautiful tone.
Rampal concluded to the tumult of a
standing ovation echoing through
spacious Ford Auditorium. After retur-
ning for bows five times, themaster
graciously played a brief encore by
Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 in F
minor, a rather popular symphony ab-
and Tchiakovsky's personal favorite.
Molded by maestro Torkanowsky, the
chronically unsatisfactory brass sec-
tion performed surprisingly well during
the majestic opening of the first
movement. The woodwind decorations
that followed wer~e excellent, and the
only noticeable flaw in the piece was an
apparent disintegration of the brass at
the end of the movement. Torkanowsky.
cued the low brass, creating a momen-
tary overlap with the dragging trumpet
The second movement, opening with
a woodwind solo accompanied by quiet
pizzicato strings, was marred by a
missed note and subsequent mistiming.
Recovering well, the strings built after

Mary Wakefield is the center of attraction in the Michigan Onera Theatre's production of The Student Prince,

a lengthy flute statement and then
broke into individual units.
Torkanowsky led the DSO to a par-
ticularly sensitive rendition of the
Scherzo third movement in which the
unity, blend, and balance were
testimony to both the ability of the con-
ductor and the quality of the DSO
The level of excellence was sustained
into the finale. Torkanowsky avoided
any exaggerated flashiness, keeping
the orchestra exciting but controlled.

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