Page 8 -The Michigan Daily-Thursday, March 24, 1988
'The Coronation of
By David Hoegberg
Monteverdi's The Coronation of
Poppea opens tonight at Lydia
Mendelssohn Theatre in a University
School of Music opera production.
The opera will be sung in English
by a double cast of student singers,
with members of the University
Symphony Orchestra in the 17 piece
The libretto by Francesco
Busenello deals with the love of the
notorious Roman Emperor Nero for
Poppea, mistress of one of his gen-
erals, Ottone. Nero banishes Ottone
and his own wife, Octavia, in order
to make Poppea his Empress. It is a
dark story in which lust and political
ambition triumph over virtue, and it
reflects the political and ethical at-
mosphere of Monteverdi's own time
as much as that of ancient Rome.
Director Jay Lesenger's Post-
modernist production shines the
spotlight on our times as well. "It's
a cross between Tacitus and Dy-
nasty," Lesenger says. "It's about
today's headlines." Lesenger uses
Monteverdi as Monteverdi used
Nero, to comment on existing cor-
ruptions through theatrical sugges-
tion. "We have not changed the
names or the content of the story to
make it 'topical,"' he cautions.
"We've only updated the opera's
Post-modernism, Lesenger ex-
plains, is primarily an architectural
school that revives the lines and
symmetries of classical Greek and
Roman architecture, blending them
with modern colors and materials.
This mode of design was a perfect
choice for Poppea because of its
Roman influence. When Poppea was
composed in 1642 Italy was in the
midst of another Roman revival.
Monteverdi took a page out of Ro-
man history and blended it with
modern music to make one of the
first and greatest operas of the pe-
Today Monteverdi's music won't
sound modern to most ears. Lesen-
ger's word for it is "transparent."
"The sound is more transparent than
we're used to. It doesn't have the
dense harmonies and orchestration of
familiar Romantic music."
Then again, density is itself out
of vogue in some circles and trans-
parency is beginning to sound mod-
ern again. Certainly the recent early
music revival has increased public
appreciation for the lighter and
clearer textures of Baroque music.
The opera's conductor, Edward Par-
mentier, has spearheaded this revival
in Ann Arbor through his work as
harpsichordist with the renowned Ars
Musica group and the American
Baroque Ensemble. The choice of
Parmentier as conductor has given
orchestra members an exciting op-
portunity to learn from him about
Baroque performance practices. Al-
though the orchestra's instruments
will be used in the performance and
Parmentier will conduct from the
Along with the updated look goes
stage action. Lesenger expects the
production to be "provocative."
"Opera goers aren't used to seeing
this much physical contact, but the
opera is about sex, politics, and cor-
ruption. You can't have characters
who are singing about sexual pas-
sion stand ten feet from each other as
they did in Monteverdi's day. Mod-
ern audiences won't buy it." So ex-
pect a hard-hitting and provocative
evening of theatre enhanced by
Monteverdi's music and by the real-
ization that times have not really
Performances of THE CORO-
NATION OF POPPEA begin
tonight at. 8 p.m. at the Lydia
Mendelssohn Theatre and continue
through Saturday. There is a matinee
on Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $9
and $6 with student seating available
for $4 with I.D. For more informa-
tion call 764-0450.
Five reasons not to see
Poppea (Laura Lamport) is the woman that Nero (Robert Breault) desires in
Monteverdi's 'The Coronation of Poppea.'
News from around campus
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By Lisa Pollak
Chances are, if you're planning to
see Police Academy 5: Assignment
Miami Beach, there probably isn't
much I can do to change your mind.
In fact, you're most likely sitting
in front of a Too Close for Comfort
rerun drooling right now, a little
flushed from the thought of seeing
officers Hightower, Tackleberry, Jo-
nes, Callahan, Proctor, and Lassard
up on the screen again. "Oh, goody,"
you're saying to yourself. "Now
there are enough Police Academy
movies for me to see one every
night of the work week!" "Oh,
yipee," you're saying to yourself.
"More poorly staged pratfalls and
breast humor than I ever thought
were possible!" "Oh, swell," you're
saying to yourself, "Now I have
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Chances are, if you're planning to
see Police Academy 5: Assignment
Miami Beach, you probably don't
care very much abort cine-
matography, acting, lighting, direc-
tion, characterization, plot, your
time, or your money - and there
probably isn't anything I can do to
change your mind. So I won't try.
When you're in the mood for Three's
Company, the last thing you want
is somebody telling you to switch to
All of which makes the reviewers
job a bit useless. Those who hate
Police Academy wisely won't see
the movie anyway. And those who
like Police Academy will. Who
needs a review? This calls for a
guide. The Police Academy S Top
Let's start with the film's Top
Five Important Plot Occurrences:
5. Lieutenant Harris gets his hand
caught in a refrigerator.
4. Officer Proctor falls into a
3. Some officer called "House"
makes an airplane shift direction by
changing his seat.
2. Commandant Lassard trips
people when the balls fall out of his
1. Somebody draws the word
"Dork" on Lieutenant Harris' chest
with sunblock while he is lying in
Then there are the Top Five
Things I Learned From Reading the
Film's Production Notes:
5. Bubba Smith, who plays Offi-
cer Hightower, has an exercise video
on the market entitled "Bubba Until
4. Leslie Easterbrook, who plays+
Officer Callahan, did color com-
mentary for ABC in both the 1984
Winter and Summer Olympics. +
3. At least four of the film's
actors have either starred or guest-
starred on Benson.
2. Police Academy films have
made $455 million worldwide.
1. There's going to be a Police
The Top Five Ways That'
Watching This Film was Different
From Watching a Sitcom at Home:
5. There were no commercials.
4. It lasted two hours.
3. They sold food in the lobby.
4. There was gum on the floor. '
1. The credits came at the end.
The Top Five Stupid Comments
Made By High-Level Executives-in
the Production Notes:
5. "The characters are up to brand
new antics-in this riotous re-teaming
of the world's most famous crime-
busters and laughmakers." (Director
4. "Although the cast is dressed
more informally in Miami, they1
have not lost that police identity
which is so integral to the film's
sincerity. We had to maintain that."
(Producer Paul Maslansky)
3. "The difference between this
film and its predecessors is that this
one has a major outside villain, so
it's a more complex film than;
.2. "Our audience wants virtually
the same cast, the same fun, the
same story in each film. That's why
the setting is so integral. We sought
to capture the essence of Miami. So
you'll see swimming pools, ca-
banas, and casual clothing."
1. "(New cast member) Officer
Kate Stratton (Janet Jones) is an
integral part of the film. She's tough
on the outside and soft on the inside..
And she's in really great shape."
(Writer Stephen Curwick)
And, finally, the Top Five Rea-
sons to See This Movie.
5. Your television broke.
4. Your film editor at the Daily
made you see it.
3. You want to make fun of the
2. The Unbearable Lightness of
Being was sold-out.
1. To reaffirm your intelligence.
_ . _ _
This eclectic new release from
Japan's rising son of New Music will
keep you raising eyebrows and
perking up your ears- even after
several listenings. All-star assists
come from bassists Bill Laswell and
P-Funk-er Bootsy Collins, and
drummers Sly Dunbar and Tony
Williams provide a thrilling rhythmic
Tunes range from modern pop with
Japanese vocals to strictly-80's
techno funk that's bracing and
powerful. Native son Iggy Pop is a
highlight, with a neo-lounge lizard
vocal piece that he pulls off with
some extraordinary sleight of hand ...
er, throat. Fascinating blend o f
sounds and styles.
-Marc S. Taras
Warner Brothers Records
This delightful and spiritful LP
from South African diva Makeba is
pure joy- easily the most exciting
release I have heard among the
growing wave of "post-Graceland"
African music issued in the States.
This album is a stirring collection of
songs that Makeba learned as a child.
Her vocals glow with the special
warmth that this happy opportunity
would create in any genuine artists.
Vocal and instrumental accom-
paniment is always satisfying, never
Marc S. Taras
lE CORONATION OF PPPEA
Planning to spend
CHRISTMAS in MEXICO ?
DO YOUR HOLIDAY TRAVEL SHOPPING NOW !
If you wish to spend your Christmas holiday basking
in the warmth and hospitality of Mexico, then now's the
time to firm up your plans. There is still a wide choice of
desirable destinations and attractive air fare packages
available, but if you want the very best -- shop early.
a .. .- ,,. I. -.4L-...a .--.,. ... a r c", I ,ra I."+k e% .1-4-a
Annual Art Show
Call for Entries
Open to UM community
Accepted 2D and 3D works
All media, including video
Call the Bursley Library
F 5:00 - 9:00
Sa 1:00 - 4:
Su 12:00 - 12:00
SATURDAY APRIL 2, 1988