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November 17, 1988 - Image 7

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-11-17

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ARTS

The MichiganDaily

Thursday, November 17, 1988

Page 7

Puccini
Pairing
'You say opera and people just go blech,'
says Jay Lesinger. Hopefully, the double
shot of opera he's directing this weekend

The cast of Gianni Schicchi shares laughs and librettos in
the University's Opera Theatre production. Puccini's comedy
shares the spotlight with his tragedy, Suor Angelica.

BY MARY BETH BARBER
AND LEAH LAGIOS
wo popular complaints about ope-
ra are that it's difficult to understand
and that it's boring. But unless the
audience has trouble with English,
Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi,
presented this weekend by the
University's School of Music Opera,
promise to be neither.
Gianni Schicchi will be sung in
English, while Suor Angelica will
lke sung in the original Italian. But
* pr those music lovers who have diff-
i ulty understanding Italian, this

Opera Theater Production will be the
first in University history to use
Supertitles, English translations of
the text projected on a screen above
the stage.
So much for being difficult to
understand. And, far from being
boring, these one-act operas by Gia-
como Puccini (Madame Butterfly, Le
Boheme) will transport you into an
evening full of comedy, tragedy,
talent, and beautiful music. You may
find yourself in the center of a
convent where a woman has been
banished by her family in Suo r
Angelica. Or you may be moved to

will change a few mury
Florence in the mid-1400's where a
group of greedy relatives comically
attempt to alter a dead man's will to
their advantage in Gianni Schicchi.
What makes these two operas so
special is the sharp contrast in
Puccini's orchestration: the blending,
luscious melodies of Suor Angelica,
captured in the chorus of women's
voices and Sister Angelica herself,
and the light, comic, musical
changes in Gianni Schicchi.
The drama of Suor Angelica and
the humor of Gianni Schicchi will
come alive under the direction of Jay
Lesenger, who has worked on more
than two dozen productions with the

Laurett Schicchi (Amy Thomas) pleads with her father - and:
the man behind the opera, Gianni Schicchi (Scott Jensen).

New York City Opera. Lesenger
notes that Suor Angelica "is a very
special, lush, and emotionally potent
opera." As for Gianni Schicchi, he
hails it as "enormously popular and
entertaining, one of the cleverest of
comic operas."
Graduate and undergraduate Uni-
versity voice students will sing the
operas and Gustav Meier, musical
director, will conduct the Unversity
Symphony Orchestra. Other talent
behind the scenes include recent
additions to the University's faculty
Graduate Design Program. Richard
Nelson, 1984 Tony award winner, is
the light designer, and Laura Crow,

who just won a Tony last year, is the
costume designer. "Our lights and
sets match what you'll see in Opera
Houses around the country," says
Lesenger.
While there are some opera fans in
town, University students don't usu-
ally go to the performances. "Most
people would be pleasantly sur-
prised," says Lesenger. "Our problem
is trying to get people in the door."
"It's a good weekend date," says
Lesenger. "If people will go and see a
movie for a tear-jerker, why not live
theater?"
Saying that opera is confusing

isn't an excuse for this performance,
the reasoning behind translations and
Supertitles. "You say opera and
people just go blech," adds Lesenger.
"Honestly, there is no reason why}
they should."
GIANNI SCHICCHI and SUOR
ANGELICA will be at the Power
Center on Nov. 17, 18, and 19 at 8
p.m. with a Sunday matinee on Nov.
20 at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at
the League Ticket Office for $10 and
$7 ($5 with student I.D.) The Power
Center Box Office will be open one
hour prior to each performance.

4 1

Writer
melds
mastery
BY MARK SWARTZ
"A new seriousness and skill will
be required from Black fiction writers
of the future," challenges novelist,
journalist, cartoonist, and teacher
Charles Johnson in his most recent
work Being and Race. Johnson, a
powerful and thoughtful writer of
fiction himself, faces up to this self-
issued challenge in earnestness.
Johnson aspires to create works
of fiction that "interface" fiction and
philosophy. "The social protest fic-
tion of Toni Morrison andAlice
Walker has reached an artistic mas-

"I have to know the story
before I write it," Johnson
says. "When I get an idea,
a voice, a story, and most
importantly a question I
want to explain, then I can
write. I write every day
until it's done."
tery," he explains, "but there is no
tradition of philosophical novel."
With a sophisticated storytelling
style that draws on old myths and
forges new ones, Johnson has created
a stunning and varied body of work.
Like Walker and Morrison, he has
garnered voluirnes of acclaim from
both the Black community and the
literary world. His first novel, Faith
and the Good Thing, follows Faith
Cross on a wondrous odyssey where
she encounters mystically-named
characters like the Swamp Woman
and Big Todd. The late John Gardner,
See~ Myth, Page 8

Show spotlights local

bands

BY NABEEL ZUBERI
N ew Talent Night, a special promotion by
UAC/Soundstage, aims to give struggling local
groups a much-needed boost. Featured tonight at
the U-Club are three very diverse bands: Rain,
Under the Influence, and Neovogue. The breadth
of music showcased should help conffirm that
there is healthy life in the local music scene.
Rain have been playing together for about two
years, and have performed regularly in local
clubs. Influenced by Led Zeppelin, Dylan,
Hendrix, Iron Maiden and Jethro Tull(!), they aim
to forge a new rock form which they call "Flower
Metal." The band members are very serious about
their music and want to make a career in the
business when they've finished school - and
since the average age of the band is about 18,
they'll have plenty of time to develop their

sound. Next summer, the band hopes to release
an album of original material on Industry
Records, a Kalamazoo label.
The second band on the bill is Under the
Influence. Judging by their name, it's not
surprising that they play mainly at fraternity
parties. The band, which has been together for a
year and a half, consists of four engineering
students here at the University. They are
influenced by REM, U2, Talking Heads, and
more worryingly, Genesis. Most of their set
consists of covers, though they are working on
more and more original material.
Neovogue is a danceband of six avid Prince
fans, which can't be bad. They write all their
own songs, which is a hopeful sign for so
young a group. One of them attends E.M.U. and
the rest are in high school. They have been
playing the local clubs for about 18 months and

are releasing a single, "Nightmare," on their own
label. An enterprising bunch of musicians, they
plan to move to Las Vegas and tout their single
around in order to fix up a record company deal.
Every great band started somewhere, playing
mainly cover versions to an indifferent audience,
and finding it tough to get recognition and
outlets for its music to be heard. So lend your
support and response to the efforts of these
young contenders. After all, Question Mark &
the Mysterians, Iggy, and the MC5 were
thrashing. about for some time in these parts
before they changed somebody's world, n'est-ce
pas? Now there must be legions of people who
lie that they saw them live, before they were
famous. So who knows where Rain, Under The
Influence or Neovogue may go? Check 'em out.
NEW TALENT NIGHT will br presented at the
U-Club tonight at 9 p m.

J Cornerstone

i

CHRISTIAN

FELLOWSHIP

ARTQIRVED
CLASS RINGS

CCRB All-Nighter
Saturday, November 9
10:30 pm - 12:30 am
Central Campus Recreation Building
This is it sports fans!
An evening to let loose, get exercise,
and meet lots of great peopio!
$2.00
Phone 769-0500 for reservations
Hillel does not necessarily endorse the Daily's
opinions or agree with its editorial policies.

(an interdenominational campus fellowship)
Students Dedicated to
Knowing and Communicating
Jesus Christ

Weekly Meetings:

Thursdays: 7:00 pm
219 Angell Hall

Thurs. & Fri. Nov. 17,18 10:30 - 3:00p.m. North Campus Commons Bookstore

John Neif - 971-9150(O), 747-8831(H)

r

Date
2} 1988 Arfaned Cas~s Ringq

Time

slace
$25.00 Deposit Required

r

Thurs.-
Sun.
Nov. 17-
20

University of Michigan
SCHOOL OF MUSIC
"Gianni Schicchi" and "Sour Angelica," by
Puccini
Presented by Opera Theater
Jay Lesenger, director, Gustav Meier, conduc.tor
Tickets $7 & $10, call 764-0450
Power Center, 8:00 p.m. (Th-Sat), 2:00 p.m. (Sun)

"The Mighty Gents," by Richard Wesley
Presented by University Players
Charles Jackson, director
Tickets $7, call 764-0450
Trueblood Theatre, 8:00 p.m. (Th-Sat), 2:00 p.m.
(Sun)
AnnArbor Dance Works Fall Program
Tickets $7, call 763-5460
McIntosh Theatre, 8:00 p.m. (Th-Sat), 2:00 p.m.
(Sun)
"The Exception and the Rule," by Bertolt Brecht
Presented by Basement Arts
Arena Stage, Frieze Building
5:00 p.m.
FREE
Guest Viola Recital by Jeffrey Irvine, Oberlin

Thurs.-
Fri.
Nov. 17-
18
Fri.

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