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March 29, 1988 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-03-29

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ARTS
The Michigan Daily Tuesday, March 29, 1988 Page 5

Contemporary

look at Monteverdi's

'Coronat*
By David Hoegberg
The University's School of Music
Opera Theatre has come of age. Last
weekend's adults-only production of
Monteverdi's The Coronation of
Poppea was a mature blend of an-
cient and modern, each detail and cast
member contributing to a stunning
evening of theatre.
The Post-modern sets and cos-
tumes universalized Monteverdi's
opera of Roman lust and intrigue,
showing its contemporary relevance,
even while the orchestra under Ed-
ward Parmentier reproduced the lilt
and texture of an authentic baroque
ensemble. Rather than jarring, this

ton' preserves
contrast of styles seemed wholly ap- ger's work w
propriate, thanks in large to fine act- meaningful detai.
ing and directing. High praise i
Peter Dean Beck's ingenious set performers for t
looked both Roman and high-tech. semble commit
Its antiseptic cleanliness provided a Lesenger produ
laboratory background for the opera's roles were all
seedy actions, putting human sex- thought-out anda
uality itself under the lens as if to mention are tho
show its organic deviation from three goddesses,t
right-angled architectural purity. Octavia's servan
Director Jay Lesenger's use of the as Arnalta. The le
disembodied hand as a motif this support a
throughout the opera was consistent matched between
with this anatomical outlook. Priscilla Peebles
Seneca's stately desk became host to day) and Chr
two cadavers, one literal and one (Friday/Sunday)
spiritual, and finally to Poppea's mezzos in an agg
wedding gifts, charting the decline of the role, and P
virtue under passion's sway. Lesen- bearing were esp

Roman

spirit

vas full of such
ils.
s due to the student
heir polish and en-
ment. As usual in
ctions, the smaller
1 extremely well
acted. Worth special
se who played the
the two bodyguards,
t, and Alicia Hunter
eads were worthy of
nd were closely
the two casts. Both
s (Thursday/Satur-
ristine Dominski
) used their rich
gressive approach to
eebles' diction and
ecially noble. Gary
(Friday/Sunday)
uous and clear bari-
Scott Jensen's
ay) voice lacked the
to carry throughout
Steve Simmons
showed a fine voice
ie dementia of the
acter but devolved
speech-song in the
sages. That this was

not necessary was proven by his
counterpart, Robert Breault
(Thursday/Saturday), who was every
bit as demented but whose bright and
clear voice was truer to the written
melodies.
Terese Fede's (Thursday/Saturday)
ravishing voice and appearance were
a constant joy in the role of Poppea.
Laura Lamport (Friday/Sunday)
demonstrated her complete command
of the role through mercurial acting
and exceptional vocalization, every
tone sounding well-focused and pure,
with clear fioriture and diction.
The real star of the show, if one
can say that about so fine a com-
bined effort, was Monteverdi, whose
music is by turns mournful and
witty, serene and vengeful, utterly
organic in its changes of color and
mood. The music of the love duets is
unmistakably erotic, in every way
inviting the sensual moving and
touching provided by Lesenger and
his troupe. A production like this
should be seen by all who think that
baroque music is staid or tame.
Editor's note: The Friday/Sunday
cast was seen at Wednesday's dress
rehearsal; the Thursday/Saturday cast
was seen on Saturday.

Gable's Anton
showed a mellifli
tone while
(Thursday/Saturd
focus and diction
the theatre.
As Nero,
(Friday/Sunday);
and captured th
Emperor's chard
into unmusical
more hectic pass

Doily Photo by JESSICA GREENE-
So you wanna be a rock 'n' roll star?
Every Tuesday night, the Alley Door juice bar offers open mike
night from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. Admission is $2 unless you bring
your intrument and perform. Michael Ward (above) did.

k

Musket

cast

does 'Dreamcoat' good

By Amy Koch
You know you've been to a successful An-
drew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice collaboration
(Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar) when you
leave the theatre chanting random chunks of the
score. After seeing Joseph and the Amazing
Technicolor Dreamcoat this past weekend, I had
an unprecedented case of such lyrical longevity,
as my studies were continuously interrupted by
the refrain of "Go-Go-Go Joseph." Musket ...
You did good. Everything fromthe lighting and
costumes to the effective deliverance of
Elvis/Pharaoh's pelvic thrusts displayed the im-
mense amount of talent existing at the Univer-
sity.
Of course, the witty and pun-filled lyrics of
Rice are central to the play's success. But, with-
out performers of Musket's caliber, Joseph's
enthusiasm remains mere words upon a page.

The rich voices, dancing ability, and astounding
energy levels of Jamie Mistry (Joseph), Marti
Deters (Narrator), and the entire cast chorally
transformed the solemn pages of the Old Tes-
tament into an animated celebration of the
dreamer.
The insertion of modern culture into these
Egyptian histrionics was a very amusing element
of this work. For example, representing the
show-businessy side of the play, the narrator's
rhinestoned garb contrasted wonderfully with the
-loincloths of Joseph and Co. And her high-heeled
strut through mountainous Canaan reflects both
the '80s attitude towardssuch stories as well as
the somewhat warped biblical perception of the
composer. Also, the appearance of the Ish-
maelites via Camel cigarette cartons added to the
play's humorous dimensions.
Joseph was so chock full o' enthusiastic ac-
tion that it was as if each scene were a play
within itself. "One More Angel" boasted not
only a change of costume, but a complete cul-

Doily Photo by DANIEL STIEBEL
Hey, hey, we're the Friars!
The Friars monkey around with a bunch of bananas at Saturday
night's 32nd annual "Best Concert Ever."
CLASSIFIED ADSI Call 764-0557

tural alteration with Western intonation, metallic
cowboy boots, and hillbilly-ish facial expres-
sions. Also, "Those Canaan Days" introduced
some European flavor into the scene with the
brothers resplendent in berets and Parisian
whines. The participation of the Women's Glee
Club was another compliment to the perfor-
mance. Strategically placed in alcoves to the side
of the stage, their cherubic strains vocally chal-
lenged the actors' wit reminding all that, though
it has been toyed with.theatrically, this play was
initially of divine origin.
Another interesting action observed was that,
though the female ensemble was basically dedi-
cated to shimmying and fanning their masters,
sexism was not all-encompassing on the Nile
Rather,'women guards were only too happy to
corner Joseph in Potiphar's chambers and hoist
him off to jail.
This biblical case history proves successful
drama can transform even the most formal of
topics into first-rate entertainment.
,and out
i crow.-

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