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November 27, 1985 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1985-11-27

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Wednesday, November 27, 1985

Th e Michigan Daily

Page 7

By Hobey Echlin
IN these morally trying times when
just about everything gives you
some God-awful disease, terrorists
threaten your every vacation, and life
becomes one big lecture, it's comfor-
ting, (damn near inspirational), that
there are things you can see, hear,
laugh at, laugh with, and just totally
And so I made my first trip to the
opera to see Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte
at the Mendellsohn Theater, presen-
ted by the School of Music Opera
I was just floored by it.
The plot is refreshingly mindless.
Like Shakespeare, there's no
preaching, just plenty of fun. Two
soldiers, Ferrando (Paul Wiltsie) and
Guglielmo (John Muriello), love two
giddy young sisters, Doarabella
(Elizabeth Elvidge) and Fiordiligi
(Gabrielyn Watson).
So great are their bonds of love, (so
the soldiers think) that they accept a
bet from the jovial but crafty Don

Alfonso (Isaiah Freeman) in which
they agree to leave their loves and
return, disguised, to test their mates'
fidelities. The grasp of any modern
notion of reality is close to zero in this
opera, and that's the best part,
leaving it to revolve around total
spectacle and performance, from the
precise direction right down to the
glittering finale.
The lovers played their roles to per-
fection, conquering the tricky
multifariousness of being singer and
actor convincingly and enter-
tainingly. Gabrielyn Watson's per-
formance was especially strong, as
she maneuvered through some solo
feats and with flute accompaniments
with ease and precision. Fontaine
Follansbee as Despina, Don Alfonso's
panderer of infidelity, was as funny as
she was corrupt, creating a person at
the same time as despisable as she is
lauded as a whimsical corruptress of
Musically, the production soared
under the conduction of Gustav Meier.
Stage action and orchestra became
one with perfect timing and


execution. Harpsichordist Bradley-
Vincent Brookshire deserves special
accolades for his crisp, rolling per-
formance (much of it solo) throughout
the production.
Technically, Cosi: benefitted from
excellent lighting and sets, including
a triptych curtain that served as both
wall for the indoor scenes as well as a
sky for the outdoor scenes, and
brilliant Mediterranean blue and pur-
ple backlighting that emphasized the
dream like world that Mozart meant
to depict.
The opera's final scene provided the
best of the whole production. Whim-
sicality reigns and good humored-
revenge is cause for plenty of laughs,
as the sisters' infidelity is hilariously
chastised by the now-undisguised
soldiers. As the orchestra bursts out
in its final moments, the lovers stand
humorously switched, preparing for
matrimony as conductor Meier waved
his arms at the reversed partners to
get them back to their correct loves.
Finally the sisters hop on the ship
their lovers arrived on in disguise, to
escape to more folly.



The University's School of Music and Opera gave Ann Arbor an outstanding production of Mozart's 'Cosi fan
Tutte' this past weekend. Jay Lesenger directed the production.
Novel laces suspense & humor

-By Jim A ley
'M SURE ALL of us at some time
4r another, when walking alone
late at night, have felt the urge to
walk a little faster than normal. Trees
,are watching you and a quick glance
-over your shoulder is only a mild
reassurance that the footsteps you
heard were only scraping leaves.
Francisco Sanctis not only has to walk
a little faster than usual, but must
also suspect every noise to be the foot-
"steps of government agents out to kill
hin. He isn't just paranoid. He's
walking in dangerous territory, in
Buenos Aires in 1977: a time of
political repression and terror. As the
author explicitly states at the begin-
ning of his story, The Long Night of
Francisco Sanctis is a
"psychological" novel, and Sanctis, a
rather humble, middle aged, Larry
"Bud" Mellmanish sort of clerk,
plays the dual role of protagonist and
The story opens by telling us that
we're about to embark on a study of
'TIe next ten hours of Sanctis' life. We
will see him struggling with himself,
but before telling us just what he's
going to struggle with, the narrator
begins to unravel his own character,
and the fun begins. The narrator, an
anonymous and somewhat less than
omnipotent figure, tells us his story
and Sanctis' struggle, "To claim that
this inner struggle...arose out of his
past into his present would amount to
searching for a metaphysical dimen-
*sion to a story that may not have
one." The narrator democratically
g'ves a disclaimer and sets a
precedent for the novel. From now on
we will see a hesitant, "bleeding-
heart" narrator, concerned not only
with telling a good story, but also with
being fair with Sanctis and with trying
to convince us he's not directing but
merely recounting Sanctis' dilemma.
So we find out that Francisco is a
pretty dull guy, living a pretty dull
life. Not unsatisfying, just dull. He
Ipunge Lizards - Live 79-81
r(Roir Cassettes)
The folks at Reachout Inter-
national, better known as ROIR, have
Sen dilligently releasing products for
.a'few years now, establishing them-
selves as some high minded, albeit
;soft spoken peddlers of pure goodness.
In their noble efforts, the ROIR
staff has done its best to keep hipsters
everywhere knee-deep in live out-take
cassettes by the finest names in
groundbreakin', seminal style rock
and roll (Television, MC5, Suicide,
New York Dolls,...); bands whose
;vinyl outputs were slim but whose im-
pact was huge. While the fidelity
hasn't been the greatest, the
packaging, and more importantly the
tuneage, has been of the choicest
Which brings us to this typically in-
nocent lookin' Lounge Lizards casset-
te-which was released by ROIR a few
ionths back. The Lizards first hit the
public several years ago via their
debut LP on EG records. Led by
saxaphonist/composer John Lurie,

delights in listening to his classical
music collection and thinks that by
removing himself from society and
listening to his records, he is not only
getting back at society, "giving it the
finger" as he puts it, but is achieving
some obscure sort of equilibrium, in-
vulnerable to the outside world. He
used to be a rabble-rouser in college,
and even edited an obscure radical
political magazine. But now he feels
out of touch, especially with youth.
Suddenly, Madam X calls Sanctis at
work. She turns out to be Elena Vac-
caro, a woman he hasn't seen since
his college days. She wants to see him,
he reluctantly agrees, and his life is
never the same.
Elena asks Sanctis to help her save
two young men allegedly engaged in
"questionable" activities from being
killed by the Argentine Air Force In-
telligence agency. She gives him two
addresses, and bids him to help if he
can. He is to go to their hideouts and
warn them, at great risk of course.
Sanctis accepts, Elena disappears,
and he embarks on his inner struggle.
The poor man refuses at first to
believe any of this is happening, and
from our vantage point inside his
head, neither can we. The last time he
saw Elena, about twenty years back,
she was a chubby, silly girl with a
crush on him. Now she's a beautiful,
elegant, and very mysterious woman
who disturbs his cocoon, and Sanctis
resents this "invasion." Yet the sim-
ple fact that he is resentful indicates
his instability: if he were truly stable
he would have turned down Elena's
offer. He wanders about dumbly for a
while, trying to figure out what to do,
and finally goes home.
We see Sanctis gradually losing his
sense, or more accurately, illusion of
balance and security, a horrifying
event for him and for us. His initial
resentment toward the world in
general and Elena in particular
slowly gives way to a vague but
nagging desire to redeem himself by
helping these two young men. Fran-
cisco the Wimp wants to become
Francisco the Conquistador.

His actions are hesitant and often
comical as he flits from one grand
plan of action to another, but Costan-
tini opens Francisco's mind so much
that we cannot help but be engulfed.
Everything Francisco feels we feel.
Desolation, isolation, amusement,
anger, everything. A feeling of
hopelessness snowballs as Sanctis
stumbles through the eerie morning
hours of a frightened world. Costan-
tini is so adept at conveying Fran-
cisco's feelings that when our hero
says he's bored and restless, so are
we, yet the author's magnetism is too
great to set the book down.
Perhaps the author's greatest trick
is his ability to lace humor into his
rather grim novel. The narrator's
discourse is consistently lighthearted,
and the humor is very subtle, yet it
leaps out and clutches on occasion, as
he reminds us, with an almost
paranoid tone, that he is not respon-
sible for Sanctis' fate: "It's true that
the more or less psychological nature
of this book was mentioned at the out-
set. But for God's sake, there's a limit
to things." As in John Fowles' The
French Lieutenant's Woman, the
narrator takes on a character of his
own, while retaining the status of
narrator/director. In this case, he's a
nervous, conscientious sort who is
afraid of probing Sanctis' mind too
deeply, as if he were in danger of
being caught by government thugs
and tortured for subversion. As far as
the narrator is concerned, he's doing
his job. He's just telling us a story that
happens to take place in Argentina in
Costantini has written a compelling
and funny novel, and I read it in one
sitting, turning the pages as quickly
and nervously as Sanctis' fearfull
stroll. He offers the reader a
challenge to penetrate the humor and
enter the mind of Sanctis. He taun-
tingly leads him around Sanctis' mind
and around Buenos Aires, until he
decides to end his story, not with a
bang, but with a stinging slap.

By Neil Galan ter
That famous Philadelphia Sound! People are always
talking about it. It refers to the mellow and smooth
silken musical textures of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
It is a sound that has been heard in Ann Arbor for years when
the Philadelphia visited annually for The May
What could be more pleasant than, to hear five in-
dividual members which make up that sound? Nothing
really. The New Philadelphia String Quartet gave Ann
Arbor that opportunity last Sunday at Rackham
Auditorium when they made their debut here.
To be sure, their texture was always on a pleasant
musical plane. Their opening Quartet in F Major for
Oboe and Strings of Mozart was artfully carved out.
They were assisted by Oboeist Richard Woodhams who
is the principal oboe of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
It is easy to see why he is the principal. His oboe
playing was some of the finest oboe work I have ever
heard. :His tone quality was round, pure
and shimmering. Even in the most athletic
passagework, Woodhams maintained a solid control
over his instrument, shaping every phrase to its fullest
The Quartet also performed the String Quartet No. 1
of the American composer Frank Proto who wrote it in
1977 when he was commissioned by the Blair School of
Music in Nashville.
The piece is a three movement work (movements
played without pauses), which utilizes elements of both
the classical and the jazz idioms intermittently, bits of

sound inA
Big Band, contemporary music and rock also make
appearances throughout the score. The result is a
humorous potpourri of musical effects. The cellist is
frequently asked to use a pencil instead of a bow on the
strings, and to tap the soundboard as well.
This performance went over confidently and
assuredly. All the effects were handled well. Cellist
Glora Johns showed great ability with her instrument.
when she demonstrated all of the demanding tricks
Proto asks for from. the cello. The group also made fine
"ensemble" when clapping and humming together in
various spots as the score calls demands.
The final note on this concert must be given to the
major work on the program. Johannes Brahms' Quin-
tet in F Minor for Piano and Strings Op. 34 was
featured, and the quartet was joined by pianist
Yoheved Kaplinsky. All that really can be said for this
performance of the Quintet is that it was for the most
part, extremely solid. The players seemed to handle all
the difficulties of the score with great ease, surmoun-
ting most of the problems. There were a few minor
"not-together" spots, but it was quite minor at that.
More important though was the question of soul, tem-
perament and overall mood in the piece. Things just
didn't seem to click as well here. There was not enough
of that meaty Brahmsian atmosphere that is essential
to any Brahms piece but especially in a major work
such as the Quintet. Kaplinsky's playing was
technically very meticulous and well mannered, but of-
ten I didn't get enough overall lateral or directional
movement in her musical phrasing.
On the whole, though, Sunday afternoon was a suc-
cessful musical exhibition, and many of those lush
Philadelphian aspects were abundant.


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with each member going his own
separate and productive way; but
thanks to those servants of cool at
ROIR, all of the mighty legions of
Lounge Lizards fans have another for-
ty or so minutes of material to groove
to, and it's some mighty fine material
at that.
Culled from a variety of live per-
formances, this tape captures the
band at their demented best. It opens
with "I Can't Hardly Walk," which
sounds like the John Coltrane quartet
playing a TV-show theme of the
future. The compelling modal riff
slides along fiercely and sweetly, with
nice Elvin Jones-style drum bursts
from Fier and a down and dirty organ
solo from Even Lurie.
Like the opening track, the next two
numbers were recorded at what must
have been a monstrous performance
at the 1981 Berlin Jazz Festival. "Dut-
ch Schultz (The Dancing Gangster)"
and "Thrown or was Pushed" both
rock brutally with particular ex-
cellence in the rhythym section. Solid
modal riffs are pulled underground by
the Lizards and operated on with
demonic precision. On "Thrown...,"

Side Two opens with the choppy but
straightforward "Stompin' at the
Corona" which is sort of reminiscent
of Charles Mingus. It then moves into
some earlier, stranger stuff like
'"Take 'em to the Cleaners" and
"Iguana," which feature Arto Lin-
dsay's noise guitar and some
downright crazy chord and note
changes. The bluesy "Ballad" and the
rhumba-ish "Coney Island" showcase
the healthy sense of irreverence
which characterizes much of the
Lizard's material.

Like the liner notes say, the Lounge
Lizards music is very visual and
cinematic, conjuring up images fromL
a variety of times and places. Sort of
like the 1940's gangster shoots up in
the late, free-jazz fifties and cruises
down main street in the 21st century.
Or else, it's the ghost of Eric Dolphy
and 1977-era Alan Vega holding up a
bowling alley for drink money. But
whatever it is, the Lizards offer a fun,
twisted and seedy (not to mention just
plain good) way to get there and this
here tape catches them at their best.
-R. Michaels


Daily goes Free Drop!
-Fall '85

sa ---- - w --- - - w - - w
>Installed by A.. SMALL CARS




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