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February 12, 1983 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1983-02-12

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ARTS
The Michigan Daily Saturday, February 12, 1983

Page 5

Lustre gleams on Hakan
Hagegard's golden voice

RC corrals

By George Shepherd
ARITONE HAKAN HAGEGARD,
Bin his entrancing concert Thursday
evening in Hill Auditorium, proved that
he is one of the world's best male song
recitalists. Performing a wide-ranging
program, Hagegard was a marvel: that
rare singer with a golden voice and the
keen intelligence to use it fully.
Hagegard became internationally
recognized in 1975 with the Bergman
film Magic Flute in which he was the
charming Papegeno. Since then, he has
divided his time between opera and
concerts. He has performed a number
of lyric baritone opera roles all over the
world - including his 1978 Met debut in
New York. This is his second U.S. tour
devoted to song recitals. He has also
begun to record and has been featured
in two well-received Carmina Buranam
disks.
Hagegard's voice, a lyric baritone
that recalls those of lieder masters
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Herman
Prey is not huge. Hagegard sounds like
Prey on loud, high passages, satisfying
more with ring and pure, piercing
placement than sheer volume.

Yet the softness of Hagegard's
singing is his greatest asset.
His long, legato piano phrases float as
beautifully as any of Fischer-Dieskau.
He is always in absolute control-even
of the frequency of his vibrato. And his
seamless vocal technique could be any
voice teacher's model.
Hagegard is also a fine actor, as seen
first in this concert in the ways his face
and body expressed the jolting contrast
between the cheery charm of
Schubert's "Farewell" and the heavy
melancholy of "Far Away." He let his
acting ability shine fully,however, only
at the end of the concert, in the last Wolf
song in which he used a nasal voice and
comic gestures, and in his third encore,
the Don Quixote drinking song by Ravel
in which he drunkenly staggered in
front of the piano.
Hagegard chose a wonderful
program. The rarely-heard songs of
the Scandinavian group were melodic
and sweet. His most effective piece
was "Irmalin Rose," done in folk-song
style with a ravishingly beautiful
pianissimo chorus.
The early Berg songs were a pleasant
surprise. They challenged the ear
without being atonal and had real

Baritone Hakan Hagegard sings Scandinavian delights.

melody. Their impressionism-for
example, the way the mists were
suggested in "Night"-remembers the
style of Hugo Wolf.
Unfortunately the lyrics of
Hagegard's songs were not in English
and even after reading the program's
translations, only a small part of what
he was singing could be appreciated.
The beauty of song arises from the way
in which words and music combine.

Not understanding the words, the
audience misses half the experience.
Pianist Thomas Schuback was
precise and controlled, supporting
Hagegard without intruding. Together,
their style expressed complex ideas
simply and cooly; thoughtfully without
being academic.
Alltogether, this is one of the best
song recitals this reviewer has heard.
Hagegard is a worthy successor to
Fischer-Dieskau and Prey.

By Julie Bernstein
His theatre encompassed all those
rhythm trade-offs
all those special dialogues of
the heart.
-Patti Smith
T HESE "DIALOGUES of the heart"
are a reflection on the works of
Sam Shepard. A dramatic selection of
Shepard monologues, entitled Mamas,
Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be
Playwrights, by the RC Players under
the direction of Shawn Yardley, closes
a successful run tonight. The presen-
tation includes a one act play by
Shepard, Cowboys No. 2, making the
entire evening a warm tribute to this
talented playwright.
Even though Thursday's opening was
a bit shaky, each member of the cast
brought to the stage the freshness of his
or her own personality. In addition to
this sincerity there was obviously a great
deal of thought that went into the
development of the project, a factor
that some compilations of this sort
usually lack.
The four actresses who performed
the dramatic interpretations of Patti
Smith's poem Sam Shepard: Nine
Random Years (7 plus 2) set a confident
tone for the evening. Unfortunately,
this piece wasn't received as well as
might have been expected due~ to the
audiences' unfamiliarity with the ab-
stract subject matter. Despite the cold
reception, there was still an excellent
balance between, didacticism, story-
telling, and artistic interpretation.
If the actors did not suit the parts in
their original contexts, at least their
performances displayed an effort to
identify with Shepard's intentions. For
example, Ruth Waalkes' portrayal of
Miss Coon (from Angel City) as a
woman who escapes into the make-
believe world of movies shows great
understanding of Shepard's aims.

'Co wboys'
Bruce Czuchna's and John Shaw's in-
terpretations of Cowboys No. 2 is sen-
sitive, witty and moving. Shepard's
dialogue between two boys attempting
to escape despair through fantasy could
have appeared empty and stagnant
without proper execution. Fortunately,
Czuchna and Shaw balance each other
well-Czuchna's sharpness and quick-
witted charm against Shaw's older and
more rough-textured personality-and
their one act play is a success.
Yardley maintains a consistent
theme throughout this production-one
of the passing of time-however, he
does not develop the relationship
enough. A stronger suggestion of
dependency, love and affection would
provide stronger basis for devastation
when tragedy unexpectedly hits.
INonetheless, Yardley brings to the scene's
ending some compelling passion and in-
tensity.
Each dramatic piece enhances the
major themes Yardley wishes to con-
vey; however, the combination of them
produces a generally pessimistic im-
pression. Yardley fails to bring out any
love or positivism within Shepard's
work.
Most notably, this is An Actor's
Evening of Sam Shepard and the en-
semble does not stray from that idea.
They do not ram Shepard down your
throat nor do they indulge in their own
artistic hang-ups. At the end of the
evening you will come out with a
greater awareness of Shepard's style
than if you had seen a fully-mounted
production of an entire Shepard play.
Final performance is tonight at 8:00
p.m. in the RC auditorium.

'Desert' burns but doesn't shine

By David Kopel
PEOPLE PLANNING on making
it big in the musical comedy world
seldom settle in Ann Arbor. So when at-
tending a local musical comedy, one
must keep in mind that a group in
Michigan doesn't have the resources of
a New York group. The Comic Opera
Guild does a fairly good job with The
Desert Song, considering the limits of
Ann Arbor and of the script.
The Desert Song, by Oscar Hammer-
stein 2nd and Sigmund Romberg,
finishes its run at the Michigan Theater
today with a matinee, and with an
evening performance at 8:00.
The Desert Song is a good-natured
tribute to Rudolph Valentino's exotic
desert films. If you have a taste for
Hammerstein and Romberg, you'll en-
joy the show; if not, you should think

twice about buying a ticket, for the
production does have some serious
flaws.
Set in colonial Morocco, the campy
operetta tells the story of the Red
Shadow, a Frenchman who fights on the
side of the Moroccan tribesmen. In his
secret identity, he is Pierre, the wimpy
son of the French Foreign Legion
commander. The Red Shadow loves
Margot-a society broad from Europe
who is looking for some excitement, but
is engaged to a Foreign Legion officer.
As the Red Shadow/Pierre, Terry
Ging is uneven. He plays Pierre
hilariously, twisting his face into ab-
surd mugs. But despite a good try, he is
no hero. The only band of men he would
ever dominate and lead is the computer
however, with its angular eyebrows, is
horrible.
The main problem with these charac-
ters isn't the performance; it's the
script. Three hours of such shallow
characters is too much.

The various choruses of French and manipulative and romantic Margot
Arab men and women dance and sing Bonvalet, and walks away with the
with charm and zest. The show. Her energy and grace light up
choreography is varied and interesting. the stage.
Backing up the choruses is a fine or- The rest of the cast is one-
chestra. Unfortunately, the acoustics dimensional, exactly as Hammerstein
of the Michigan Theater result in the intended them to be. They play their
orchestra drowning out the singers. parts by picking one cliched persona,
If you want to walk out of the theater and pushing it to the hilt.
and say, "Now that was fine art," go Most of the efforts are successful.
see Three Sisters instead. But if you'll For example, Patricia Rector plays her
be happy with some fun performances, part as Susan (an overweight woman in
some strong musical numbers, and if search of a husband) broadly and
you don't expect perfection, you'll have brightly. As Benny, the little coward
a good time at The Desert Song. that Susan is trying to catch, Peter
jock club. His singing is competent, but Greenquist turns some old jokes to good
lacks projection. advantage, especially after he discards
Joan Castrodale plays the a phony Brooklyn accent. His make-up,
- 1
ilpt

The R. C. Players present

MAMAS, DON'T LET
YOUR BABIES
GROW UP TO BE
PLAYWRIGHTS
AN ACTOR'S EVENING OF
SAM SHEPARD
FEBRUARY 10-12, 8:00
EAST QUAD AUD
ALL TICKETS $1.00

Messengers bring Detroit
jazz to the Union

F-
5:,
!.
.
<

By James McGee
IF YOU haven't heard of the Sun
Messengers and their various styles
of music, it's time you found out where
local jazz is going. Based in Detroit, the
Messengers will be performing this
evening at the University Club in the
Michigan Union at 9:30.
Be prepared for a night of smooth
jazz and blues, as well as wild and
energetic forms of reggae, salsa,
rhumbas, rock, and boogie woogie, as
well as some space age jams.
Featuring bandleader, composer and
jazz pianist Sun Ra, the Messengers
organized originally as Kuumba in 1978.
After countless changes in style and at
least 50 members, the band is presently
comprised of musicians ranging from
their early 20s to early 30s. Their
unique sound is created by an
arrangement of three horns, guitar,
bass, vibes, percussion, trumpet, and
saxophonist David Reinstein-alias Dr.
Rock N. Stein.
In their early days, The Messengers
were greatly influenced by Sun Ra's
-musical ideas and compositions. As
they continued to grow and search for a

musical "direction", the group began
to incorporate charts by Horace and
Fletcher Henderson, as well as big
band material by Ellington and Don
Redman.
Influenced by South African big band
music, the Messengers also present
swinging kwela music influenced-by ar-
tists like Dollar Brand and Dudu Puk-
wana. Among the wide variety of styles
incorporated are Latin big band charts,
R & B.arrangements and some original
pieces.
So, while you are enjoying a rich Pina
Colada or a smooth Daquiri, get ready
to enjoy some real energetic and for-
ceful jams...and a few surprises. As a
localrdance show host put it, "Sugar is
sugar and salt is salt, if you don't 'get
off' it's not their fault."

I- VALENTINES DAY
INDIVIDUAL THEATRES GIVE YOUR SWEETHEART
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COMING 2/18/83 DUDLEY MOORE IN "LOVE SICK"

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