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November 25, 1985 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1985-11-25

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily

Monday, November 25, 1985

The Boys rocked...

Pdge 5
...'The Flies' didn't

By Neil Galan ter
ROUND THIS TIME each year a
group of boys ranging in age
from 7 to 14 get together on
stage...and sing. Sing their hearts out.
Who might they be (just in case you
wonder)? The Vienna Choir Boys.
This past Thursday night, a friend
and I trekked to Macomb Community
College Center for the Performing Ar-
ts in Clinton Township, (Yes, it is in
the boonies!), to see the Boys perform
a pleasant program of choral pieces
and also a short one act operetta.
Their director, Ernest Raf-
felsberger opened the evening with a
contrapuntal piece by the German
organist and composer Dietrich Bux-
tehude. Wachet Auf enabled the Boys
to show what polished and refined
skills they have as musicians at such
young and tender ages. The fugato
elements, and many canonic items
fell smoothly into place.
Raffelsberger's faults never lied in
his conducting, (frequently from the
keyboard), which was sleak and agile
to say the least. It was more a
question of hearing his piano accom-
S paniments, and that is where a
problem entered the situation.
Although an accompaniment is not
ever to overshadow a group, it still
needs to be heard. Raffelsberger's
dynamic level never seemed to rise
above a mezzo-piano or a mezzo-forte,
and that cheated the audience out of
some very melodious playing!
Michael Haydn's Alleluja was a
marvelous contrast, and was perfor-
-med full of energetic bounce on the
Choir Boys' parts.
Before their operetta, the group
performed two short pieces by the
English composer Benjamin Britten.
Not only do these choir boys sing in
their native German tongues, and in
English for the operetta, but in the
Britten they came through clearly
and effectively in Latin. Their diction
was smooth and clearly elucidated at
all times, which added an extra luster
to the pieces.
As for the operetta, Viennese Life,
by the waltz composer and king,
Johann Strauss, it was really only an
amusing collaboration of little skits
and song numbers. The plots in these
little operas are always silly to the
fore, this one being no exception: A
marriage is arranged for a young
maiden,' sie's intefested in someone
else, her father doesn't approve, you
know the rest. Same story, always.
C'mon. Gimme a break!
The musical aspects of the operetta
were another story. The boys sang
brilliantly with all the right theatrical
innuendos. Musical numbers were
easily followed and always made laid-
back, listenable material. And, I must
admit, despite the fact that the play

dragged on forever, it was quite
amusing to see children dressed and
imitating adults, some of the boys ac-
tually in drag.
A song by Franz Schubert, who was
a choirboy himself, and a polka, a
waltz, and a German folksong filled
the last half of the show. The Schubert
was marvellously sung. Chordal tex-
tures were sweet and harmonious. A
trio of three choirboys performing the
trio from Mozart's The Magic Flute
was equally admirable. There was a
sparky, clear and robust tone quality
throughout.
One of the most entertaining
moments was in the second of their
two encores, with a Vienna Choir Boys
tradition: singing an American
folksong. This time it was Home on
the Range, and with their German ac-
cents, it was definitely a unique
American folksong. Their diction,
naturally, was not perfect. However,
musically they sparkled with radian-
ce, and it seemed like the best way to
put a finish on the evening's perfor-
mance.
Although frequently the Vienna
Boys' voices lack a full range and
scope of tonal colors, they are still
quite polished musicians for their
ages. Naturally they will outgrow
their "choirboy" statuses, and
develop into even broader musicians.
In the meantime, I'll drive anywhere
next Christmas season to hear them
again.

By Laura Coughlin
O NCE UPON a time, the people of
Argos feared the wrath of the
gods, and the weight of their sins
weighed heavy on their hearts. Then
one day a model out of GQ magazine
came to town wearing a preppy polo
shirt, sweet jazz oxfords and a very
conspicuous sword.
"Go ahead,.make my day," said the
expression on his face. Being a
freedome fighter and a beloved
character of Jean-Paul Sartre's play,
"The Flies," he naturally fought for
truth, justice and the existentialist
way.
To achieve this goal, our trendy
hero Orestes must murder the evil
King, Aegistheus, as well as (oh
horrors!) his own mother, Clytem-
nestra. And then, to top it all off, he
must escape the weight of a guilty
conscience, something the Argonians
have failed to do.
To convey Sartre's message, a
weekend production of "The Flies" by
the Residential College Players
mixed modern dress with classical
style to give the play inconsistency.
Orestes played by Todd Pisani would
have been less humorous and more
realistic had he been packing a .357
Magnum. Similarly, Zeus, played by
Robert Schall, resembed Lionel
Richie at the Grammy's with an
outrageous sequined suit.

Elliot Jackson, as the evil queen
Clytemnestra, is nothing less than
"absolutely marvelous." Unlike most
of the other players, Jackson's
exaggerrated arm movements were
totally appropriate to her character.
The voice of a mother shines though
convincing as the evil queen com-
plains that her daughter is late
b'ecause she is "lingering in front of
her mirror.
Anne Schneider, as Electra, fails to
achieve the same perfection, as she
flails her arms about trying to em-
phasize lines which are badly overac-
ted.
Likewise, Todd Pisani as Orestes
and Alan Schulman as the hero's tutor
recite lines which are memorized but
not inspired.
B. David Rickman gets the most
valuable bit-player award for his
hilarious portrayal of an idiot whose
only line is "Hoo," and Framji Mm-
walla wins three cheers from female
audience members who mistook him
for a Foxy Frenchman during a ritual
dance honoring the dead king.
The people of Argos get ten free
visits to a detox clinic to cure them of
their uncontrollable body shakes,
which they attribute to fear of the
gods and of the dead, but should
perhaps be blamed on over-direction.
* A classic-brought-up-to-date suffers
at the hands of over-modernization
and overacting.

The Vienna Choir Boys made their annual stop to the area with a show
that included, among humour, excellent direction, and talent; an inspired
cover of "Home on the Range." (Beat that, Paul Westerberg.)

Two men. Not soldiers. Not heroes. Just dancers. Willing to risk their lives for freedom- and each other

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A TAYLOR HACKFORD FILM
WHITE NIGHTS
COLUMBIA PICTURES PRESENTS A NEW VISIONS PRODUCTION MIKHAIL BARYSHNIKOV- GREGORY HINES "WHITE NIGHTS"
STARRING: GERALDINE PAGE HELEN MIRREN JERZY SKOLIMOWSKIINRODUNISABELLA ROSSELLINI MUSIC SCORE BY MICHEL COLOMBIER
MUSIC SUPERVISED BY PHIL RAMONE - CHOREOGRAPHY BY TWYLA THARP SCREENPLAY BY JAMES GOLDMAN AND ERIC HUGHES
STORY BY JAMES GOLDMAN- PRODUCED BY TAYLOR HACKFORD AND WILLIAM S. GILMORE DIRECTED BY TAYLOR HACKFORD
PG-13 PARENTS STRONGLY CAUTIONED m l ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK ALBUM AVAILABLE READ THE ABRAMS BOOK QQ E
i' I" *I-I I ON ATLANTIC RECORDS AND CASSETTES PORTRAIT OF A FILMN-SELECTED THEATRES

"SAY YOU SAY ME"
(TITLE SONG)
PerLoOmed EYLIONEL RICHIE"nleAvailable
Perfrme by l CMotwn Records

"SEPARATE LIVES"
(LOVE THEME)
Performedby PHIL COLLINS and MARILYN MARTIN

r'-- .- L - -. - ..1 . . 1 -. Ah w w'

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