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February 14, 1978 - Image 6

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1978-02-14

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Page 6-Tuesday, February 14, 1978-The Michigan Daily

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'Faust
By RENEE SHILCUSKY
ONE OF THE most celebrated
operas in history, Gounod's
Faust opened at the Music Hall
Theatre in Detroit on Friday. This
opera is perhaps one of the most
popu-
popular operas ever written. After its
opening in Paris in 1859, it was per-
formed once every nine days for
thirty-five years. Faust opened the
Metropolitan Opera House as the
first performance in 1883, and since
then, it has been acclaimed world-
wide. Queen Victoria so loved this
opera she asked to have it sung to her
on her death-bed. The Michigan
Opera Theatre admirably performed
this masterpiece using a twist in the
Faust
Charles Gounod
Music Hall Theatre
February 12, 15, 17, 18
Faust ... ....................... Jon Garrison
Mephistopheles..................Henk Smit
Marguerite........................ Leona Mitchell
David Effron, conductor
David Alden, stage director
Alana Bater, choreographer
original conception.
Faust is based on Goethe's inter-
pretation of the famous German
legend. The legend itself dates back
to the Middle Ages, but it was not
until the 16th century that it became
popular. Faust exchanges his soul to
the Devil in return for youth and
power.
The theme has been used in almost
every art form, and has been inspira-
tion for many famous composers.
Gounod elaborated on the story,
choosing not to deal with the philo-

L

sophical questions explored by Go-
ethe, but with the sentimental love
story of the old man who becomes
young by power of the Devil.
GOUNOD'S LIBRETTO has often
been criticized for its stilted charac-
terizations and stereotypes, but the
music, especially the love songs, are
so beautiful and melodic that the
opera has been popular in spite of
some of the dramatic problems
involved. Director David Alden's
idea was to create the opera around a
less romantic and more interpretive
set. The set, a ten-sided raised
wooden platform, circles the entire
stage with the center as the principal
acting area. Several ten foot high
antique statues and a translucent six-
poled tent add drama and interest to
the stage.
The non-period look. of the stage
de-emphasizes the inherent romanti-
cism of the opera. The music
provides an interesting and unique
contrast to 'the set and gave an
overall look of freshness to the
performance.
Jon Garrison as Faust was excel-
lent as the hopeless old man who
turns to the Devil for salvation. The
entire characterization of the charac-
ter was surprisingly well-formed. His
voice tended to be more suited for the
higher range, and the final duet, at
the end of the first act, in which
Faust asks for the return of his youth,
was well sung.
Mephistopheles, especially in this
style of the opera, presents certain
dramatic problems. Gounod's inter-
pretation of the Devil includes sar-
donic lyrics but not much else. Henk
Smit, bass, seemed too spritely a

devilishly d

figure for the powerful character of
Mephistopheles. His voice, though,
was marvelously suited to some of
the songs, and at times, he sounded
positively demonic.
LEONA MITCHELL portrays Mar-
guerite, the beautiful woman with
whom Faust falls in love. Mitchell
was the; absolute height of the
evening The famous Jewel Box song
in Act II showed off her lovely
soprano voice to perfection. She sang
the waltz melodies so innocently and
the characterization was refreshing
and delightful.
She handled herself on stage with
calmness and serenity. She was
believably beautiful as she tried on
the jewels, admiring herself in a
small mirror. She sang the colora-
tura passages in the piece excellent-
ly, and throughout the opera gave a
strong and flawless performance.
The male chorus, the Detroit Post
Office Male Chorus, to be specific,
was beautifully harmonic. Their rich
tones made the music full and
exciting. Meredith Parsqns, in the

izzlin
small part of Marthe, the next-door
neighbor of Marguerite, was superb.
She had a tremendous amount of
stage presence and her voice was
clear and resonant. She previously
appeared as Maddelena in the U-M
Music School's production of Rigo-
letto and she has proved herself here
in Faust as well.
ACTUALLY, ALL of the songs in
this presentation of Faust were sung
beautifully. The dancing in the crowd
sequences deserve particular kudos.
The contrast of the 16th century cos-
tumes to the interpretive set was
startling but very successful.
It is enjoyable to see innovation in
classic opera, and this interpretation
of Faust was highlighted by that fact.
Congratulations go to David Alden
for the unique presentation of the
third act. The expressionalism of the
set and the music were used here to
the highest possible degree. The
three crosses in Hell are an interest-
ing modern influence on Mephis-
topheles, and the perpetual suffering
of the pseudo-Christs is a fascinating
and well-thought-out idea. In.the next
scene, the Christ figures disappear
and the three bare crosses repre-
sent the cemetery - the world of the
eternally dead visualized. Set design-
er Paul Steinberg has attempted to
add philosophical interest into Gou-
nod's love-story version of Dr. Faus-
tus and he is to be highly com-
mended. But Faust can F
be appreciated for the fantastic
music and the rousing choruses, the
sentimental melodies and the mock-
ing and sardonic yerse. Michigan
Opera Theatre can be proud of their
accomplishment.

iHI WEEK

Mediatric's presents:
THE GRAPES OF WRATH
A Depression family go to California to find work and their dreams.
Starring: Henry Fonda
Wednesday, February 15, 7 & 9 p.m., MLB 3, $1.50
RETURN OF THE DRAGON
See Bruce Lee thwart bad guys with Kung Fu, in Rome.
Friday, February 17, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m., Nat. Sci. Aud., $1.50
AN EVENING OF CARTOONS
Starring Bugs Bunny and friends
Saturday, February 18, 7, 8:35, & 10:10 p.m., Nat. Sci. Aud., $1.50
Eclipse Jazz presents: Bright Moments
OLIVER LAKE & JULIUS HEMPHILL
Saxaphone duets.
Friday, February 17, 8 & 10:30p.m.
Residential College Aud., East Quad., $2.50, tickets on sale now.
Union Programming pres'ents:
THE APPLE TREE
A musical by the Club Cabaret, with help from the University Club.
Friday & Saturday, February 17 & 18, Anderson Rm., Michigan Union
dinner-7 p.m., show-8 p.m., $2.50-show, dinner & show-$9
MINI-COURSES-beginning with "Disco Dancing"
Thursday, February 16 & 23, 9 p.m., Pendleton Rm., Union, Free
Mini-Corse-"Learn to Bartend"
A 3-week course, taught by professionals.
Monday, February 20, 27 & March 13, University Club, 7-10 p.m., $10
Register at Ticket Central.
TICKET CENTRAL handles ticket sales for all UAC events.
Located in the lobby of the Michigan Union, business hours are 10
a.m.-5 p.m. For additional program information, call 763-1453.
VIEWPOINT LECTURES is a new major lecture series featuring a wide
range of subjects, ideas, and opinions. This group needs people to help with every
aspect of putting on lectures such as booking, scheduling and advertising.

Steve Goodman a
IN CONCERT }
Also Appearing: JIM POST .
Thurs., Feb. 16
Power Center--8 Pm Reserved seats $5.00
Tickets available at the Michigan Union Box Office (763-2071) M-F 11:30-5:30.
Sorry, we are unable to accept personal checks.
Smoking and Beverages Stictly Prohibited in The Power Center"
Presented by the Office of Major Events
** ****************

A

2

film festival ahead

By WILLIAM CAMPBELL
STRETCHING the imaginative
boundaries of 8mm film, film
makers from across the country and
from Canada will compete'for over
$1,000 in the annual Ann Arbor 8mm
Film Festival.
Geared toward the amateur spirit
in us all, the festival features work
done in what Gerry Fialka, the
festival director, refers to as the
"people's medium."
For those unfamiliar with the
terminology, 8mm film is similar to
that in the home movie set-tip. It's
not as elaborate or expensive as,
16mm, and relatively easy to use and
cheap to develop. Expenses range, of
course, but according to Fialka a
film maker can develop a winning
concept in 8mm for as little as $25.
THE ENTRANCE procedure re-
quires each applicant to submit their
film to the screening committee by

the January 28, 1978 deadline. Each
film is then seen in its entirety by the
committee. ""It's hard work to sched-
ule showings for only the best films,
says Fialka, "but when there is only
enough room for 100 films out of 200
applicants, we have to draw a line."
Thus, this coming weekend of
February 17-19, the Ann Arbor Film
Festival will present only the best of
8mm films. There will be two shows
Friday, three shows Saturday, and
Sunday, Winners Night, will consist
of four hours of the Festival's best.
All programs are shown at Schorling
Auditorium within the School of
Education. The admission price is $1
per show.
Included among this year's entries
are The Oddfather, an hour-long
epic, Shaky Jake, a 16-minute docu-
mentary done by Larry Behnke on
Ann Arbor's own inimitable street
performer, and Remix, an experi-
mental film by Joe Bernard.
Following the Saturday showing,
the judges cgnvene to decide how to
distribute the prize money. The
criteria on which the films are
judged are left entirely up to the
discretion of the judges. "The Festi-
val is not in the business of categoriz-
ing people," Fialka explains, "Each
film is judged individually on its own
merit, in competition with the oth-
ers."
"What we aim for in the festival,"
says Fialka, "is to promote creative
activity in 8mm film making. Most
people don't ever see 8mm films in an
auditorium environment, and "what'
we do is give people a chance to see
what's happening in 8mm in a
pleasurable setting."

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~IiauI {j I I f ltf"'11,""' iiof(GARY COOPER in 1954
I HIGH NOON
W lillYskillful editing, this film is one of
the most important American
westerns of the 1950's. The story
" of a sheriff about to face four
desperadoes builds as support from
his friends, fellow townspeople
and his Quaker wife dwindles.
O S(Played by GRACE KELLY).
NOW SHOWING
Sn. Tues , Thurs., Fri.79FREE DOCUMENTARY NIGHT
Sat.,Sun.,Wed.,1-3-5-7-9
WED. Flaherty's
NANOOK OF THE NORTH (8)
& SHADOW CATCHERS (9:05)
CINEMA GUILD
PNamunt Prc~ues Nwts A Frnt A4¢,cton TONIGHT AT 7:00 & 9:05
Henry Winkler is "The one and Oni Old Arch. Aud.--1.50
Ann Arbor Civic Theatre AUD ITION
Caruselby Rogers and Hamerstein
Feb. 13 - MASS MEETING- 7:30
All adults trying 'out should attend this meeting for instruction and sign

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