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November 02, 1980 - Image 7

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-11-02

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'U' SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

A ghoulish performance

The Michigan Daily-Sunday, November 2, 1980-Page 7
The Conseiato Rstaurant
Cordially Invites You To Dine With Us Tonight
THE CONSERVATORY FEATURES:
-'1 off the price of pitchers
-50C off the price of coffee drinks
-10% off your food bill from 4-5:30
-Music & Meal Deal

By ED PRINCE
Hill Auditorium was the place to be
on Friday, October 31 for everybody
whp is anybody at the University of
Mi higan The event, the annual
Haloween concert given by the Univer-
sity Symphony Orchestra under the
direction of Gustav Meier, featured a
veritable galaxy of beautiful people. In
the orchestra and in the huge audience
could be seen the likes of Abraham Lin-
coln, Darth Vadar, the Mona Lisa
(complete with background and
frame), a samurai, a Latin American
revolutionary, ladies of the evening,
and countless freaks, ghouls and mon-
sters.
As was to be expected, the concert
proper was not of as high a quality as
the one-given the previous Tuesday by
the University Symphony and Mr.
Meier. The orchestra members had to
learn a total of nine pieces for 'the two
concerts given three days apart, and
you can be sure than the greatest atten-
tion was paid to the works for the more
serious Tuesday program. The
Halloween Concert was definitely not
your average concert with deadly
silence from the audience and deadly
seriousness from the performers. It was,
first and foremost, a great deal of fun
for all involved, so the slips and rough
edges of the performance were easily
forgiven.

Featured were Christopher Rouse's
"Dux Caecus XXX I,' the "March to the
Scaffold" and the "Dream of a Witches'
Sabbath" from Berlioz's "Symphonie
Fantastique," the "Hell's Vengeance"
aria from Mozart's "Magic Flute," the
"Satan Appear!" duet from Gounod's
"Faust," "Rhapsody on a Theme of
Paganini" by Rachmaninoff, and "Don
Giovanni's Descent to Hell" from
Mozart's "Don Giovani".
There's never been a more effective
or appropriate concert opener than Mr.
Rouse's "Invisible Conductor," and the
composer, a professor at the School of
Music, must have written it especially
for the concert. To start with, the entire
auditorium was plunged into darkness
to set the appropriate mood for terror.
Above the screams of the audience
could be heard an ominous knocking,
and a spotlight revealed a slowly
opening door-but no conductor in
sight. It was, of course, the Invisible
Conductor himself, and the spotlight
followed his unseen advance to . the
podium. Here he was warmly received
by the orchestra and shook hands with
the concertmaster. The ghostly
maestro did not spend long on for-
malities, though, and soon his invisible
hand was opening the score and the
work was underway. The piece itself is
a fine bit of Halloween fluff with all
manner of fleeting orchestral effects

over a slow bass drum tottoo, and the
darkened auditorium made it all the
more fun.
FOR THE REST of the concert the
lights remained on, and the conductor
and the music were a little bit more
substantial. Next were the last two
movements of the "Symphony Fan-
tastique," which has the distinction of
being the first work to be repeated on
the Halloween concerts. The first such
concert four years ago also had the
same piece, and the repetition was well
justified. The symphony portrays the
hallucinations of a poet who has over-
dosed on morphine. In the movements
played, he envisages himself being sent
to the guillotine for the murder of his
girlfriend and then attending a witch's
sabbath where she is one of the par-
ticipants. The music portrays these
visions brilliantly, and Mr. Meier in-
creased its impact by avoiding the sub-
tle approach in the performance. There
were some off balances and slips by
players, but the performance was still
exciting. The audience members prac-
tically had to comb their hair after it
had been blown into dissarray by the
deafening closing chords of the work.
The next piece, the Queen of the
Nights' aria "Hell's Vengeance,"
from "The Magic Flute" was
something of a disappointment. The
reason is that the scheduled soloist,

everly Rinaldi, was not available to
sing. Instead Nancy Spangler filled in
with only a few hours preparation.
Spangler is a brave woman, because
"Queen of the Night" has some fear-
somely difficult coloratura writing. The
soloist's small voice was not entirely up
to the challenge,
TENOR RICHARD FRACKER and
bass James Patterson sang the initial
duet between Faust and
Mephistopheles from "Faust" next,
and they delivered a fine, somewhat
hammy rendition of this scene. The
aging Faust, dressed as a U of M
professor, was offered youth by the
devil, but instead of presenting an
image of the heroine Margeritte, the
devil showed Faust Jane Rosensen.
Jane Rosensen, as it turns out, is a har-
pist in the orchestra.
Distinguished pianist and School of
Music professor Theodore Lettvin lent
his services in the next piece, the
"Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini" by
Rachmaninoff. Mr. Lettvin must have
had a rough day, because he was sound
asleep while his piano was being
brought out. He was in the piano, as a
matter of fact. In playing he displayed
a delightful bag of tricks, including
some Chico Marx keyboard clowning
The concert closed with some fine
theatricality in the form of the
"Descent to Hell" from "Don Giovan-
ni" featuring baritone Thomas Scholten
and basses Benjamin Whitely and
James Patterson. The scene opens with
the Don, in dazzling 18th century getup,
strumming his guitar and singing a
serenade; Suddenly his faithfulservant
Leporello comes screaming down the
aisle announcing that a statue has come
to visit the Don. The statue, which
follows the terrified servant, tells
Giovanni that he must repent for his
many sins. The Don, who remains cool
and unconcerned, refuses to the very
end, and as an infernal chorus sings of
the horrors he will face, he is engulfed
in flame and plummets to-hell via a
stage elevator. What a way to end a
concert!
One shudders to think what they will
have at the next Halloween Con-
cert-perhaps Dracula swinging down
from the balcony. But don't just
speculate about it-go!

i
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^, ,ter'

SUN-THURS. have dinner at the Conservatory
Restaurant and receive free admission to Sec-
ond Chance Night Club.
516 EAST LIBERTY-Next to Second Chance

R O _.._. ___

IT'S A BIRD, IT'S A PLANE,

4

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IT'S THE DAILY MAN
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da

HeC

an Drop By Your House Too
Call 764-0558

ONE RANCID EVENING

T

Mr. R,Mr. H

By ANNA NISSEN
-Sure, "Money Isn't Everything."
Those were hit lyrics from the 1947
production of Allegro, and no one can
deny that MR. Rogers and Mr. Ham-
*merstein gave us many a memorable,
spunky and characteristically
American songs. Their musicals
bridged the gap between our folks'
generation and our own. Mom and Dad
fell in love with Curley and Laurey of
Oklahoma (1943), and fifteen years
later with The Sound of Music, Mary
Martin and, later, Julie Andrews taught
a new generation to sing.'
But the Professional Theatre
Program production of Mr. R and Mr.
W which opened at the Power Center
Friday night, offers nothing more than.
an inexcuseable misuse of University
funds.
IT WAS somedisenchanting evening.
The fading Gordon MacRae, who once
-wooed us as Curley in Oklahoma, was

propped up onstage to grumble through
medley of R & H favorites. Drafted to
fill the female spot, Anita Darien (Lady
Ti in the original Broadway staging of
The King and I) is still a competent
vocalist, but pure corn as a stage
presence.
"Younger Than Springtime" and
several of McRae's other classic num-
bers were undermined by schmaltzy
nightclub-style arrangements, and the
program as a whole was not ordered in
any interesting way. The overall effect
was complete tedium-not to, mention
sound system difficulties which
prolonged everyone's displeasure for
nearly an hour.
In a University community where
budget cuts are imminent (regardless
of the outcome of Proposal D), can we
afford to toss away funds on an evening
of bush-league entertainment at the
Power Center, where only half of the
seats were filled (and nearly half of

vronged
those were vacated for good at inter-
mission), a scant fraction of which
were flled by students? And in terms of
cultural enrichment, there are cer-
tainly more profitable uses for our
theatre resources.
The PTP staff should be em-
barrassed, and can even be accused of false
advertising. Mr. R and Mr. H falls
within the "Best of Broadway" series,
though it's only a preview. It has yet to
his Broadway, and is sure to flop when
it does. As Rogers and Hammerstein
once wrote, "It's a Scandal! It's an
Outrage!"

a=no

Winner Best Film
Toronto Film Festival
--Newsday
ART GARFUNKEL
THERESA RUSSELL
BAD TIM/
A SENSUAL
FRI-7:40, 9:50
SAT, SUN-1:00, 3:10,
5:30, 7:40, 9:50
MON, TUES-7:40, 9:50

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Nt

Stardust 'indulgences

(Continued from Page6
the idealized Jewish-woman figure, a
iblinist (read: intellectual), sexy yet
'earthy enough to serve as both friend
and lover. Early in the movie, the
Allen-Harper hook-up suggests offbeat
dramatic possibilities. But the whole
business eventually just fizzles out.
This seems to be part of the point: they
iever get together because Woody
Allen wants to crush the audience's
romantic expectations in favor of stark,
anti-Hollywood reality. The ruse suc-
ceeds too well. By the end, we don't
have too many expectations about
anything. The effect isn't of
disillusionment- or alienation, but of
apathy-pure emotional boredomi.
THE ONE SURE sign of life in the
movie is the photography-a succession
of beautifully composed, underlit
images by Allen's cinematographic
collaborator, Gordon Willia. There are
*moments of dark, burnished beauty,
like a rhapsodic sequence with balloons
flowing across twilit skies to.
'Moonlight Serenade." The visual
beauty doesn't linger, because the
images have absolutely no emotional
undercurrents. But Woody Allen has
become an eloquent, stylized visual
director, and the visual scheme here
isn't just imitation-Fellini; it takes off
on the more patterned images of
European films and then adds a dark,
;shimmering buoyancy.
r And in spite of himself, Allen
manages to encapsulate the movie's
host potent message in a visual joke-a
five-second fantasy flashback in which
:the young, genius-nerd Sandy Bates
,played' by the same actor used as
Allen's juvenile alter-ego in Love and
I

Death and Annie Hall), clad in a
Superman outfit, jets into the air as his
mother looks on proudly. It's Woody
Allen's Messianic complex captured in
a single image: Jewish Boy Makes
Good. Stardust Memories might almost
be the inevitable product of that par-
ticular ethic. One of the two or three
greatest comic filmmakers this country
has ever produced still has to search for
Art in the great beyond.
When we finally come to the big
wrap-up message (delivered in the by-
now standard earnest Woody Allen
voice-over), the pretentions of the
movie are busted wide open. Sandy
Bates tells about a particular Sunday
morning, when Louis Armstrong was
on the phonograph, he and his girlfriend
had just returned from a nice stroll in
the park, and he looked her in the eye.
For a moment, he says, he experienced
true happiness. It's a reprise of the
wonderfully romantic life's-
worthwhile-after-all endings of Annie
Hall and Manhattan, but in Stardust
Memories it's outrageous: We've sat
through all this artsy chicanery, and for
the sort of common-man message any
Russian peasant would drink a toast to.
Why has Woody Allen made a whole
film to negate the sloppy, Gersh-
winesque romantic in him? It is to ease
the burden of the masses, or to prove
that he's not really one of them?

' ' -
; " I

Spge i pcial
Tonight you can get a spe-
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cluding a garden salad &
garlic bread for only
$2.95.
1140 SOUTH UNIVERSITY
668-8411

A story of:-
natural love...
THE BI
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FRI-7:10, 9:00
SAT, SUN-5:20, 7:10, 9:00
MON, TUES-7:10, 9:00

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Sat, Sun $1.50 til 1:30
BROOKE SHIELDS

A NEW MINICOURSE
CULTURAL BORDER CROSSINGS:
Russian Literature and the West 1953-1980
Division 495, Course 312 November 6 through 25-
Tuesday & Thursday, Auditorium "B" AngeI Hall
Thirteen hours of lectures and discussion, I credit
the course is offered on a credit/no-credit basis. No prerequisites. All
lectures, discussions, and readings in ENGLISH. One 5-page paper.
Lecturer: Vasily Aksenov, one of the foremost Russian prose writers and
dramatists of the post-Stalin period.
Other participants: Deming Brown, Carl Proffer, Alexei Tsvetkov, and
Igor Yefimov.
A survey of the most important developments in Russian culture, especially Russian literature, since
the death of Stalin. The main theme of Aksenovs lectures will be the aroduol opening up of Soviet
society from 1953 to the present-the ways in which Russians re-discovered their own cultural history.
discovered the West's cuitural accomplishments, and began to crete a, new and vital literature
themselves.
The course will end with a symposium devoted to a variety of contemporary cultural developments
in the USSR and in the new Russian emigration-os well as predictions for the Immediate future
TO REGISTER: All LS&A students go to room 1221 Angell Hall (get
over-ride at Slavic Department 3040 MLB)
Graduate students get Add forms in your
own departments and go to Lorch Hall.

Angie Jones N
FOR
REGISTER OF DEEDS
Q DEMOCRAT
IAnitrb tatre z gnate
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20510
OCTOBER 27, 1980
I support Angie Veigel for Register of Deeds. I have known Angie for many

GORDON
MACRAE

ANITA
DARIAN

In

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