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February 12, 1992 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-02-12

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The Michigan Daily- Wednesday, February 12,1992- Page9

will turn
*you on to
by Michael John Wilson
if you've never thought you could
love opera, this weekend's produc-
tion of Giacomo Puccini's Tosca by
the New York City Opera National
Company could change your mind.
The touring company of the New
York City Opera provides a forum
for up-and-coming singers, while
bringing opera to the masses outside
the City. The immediately enjoyable
Tosca is an ideal piece to attract a
new audience.
Tosca takes everything that's in-
timidating about grand opera and
makes it thrilling, likable and acces-
sible. First performed in 1900, Puc-
cini's fifth opera tells the story of a
beautiful, irrepressibly passionate
singer, Floria Tosca. She harbors a
tempestuous love for a painter and
revolutionary named Cavaradossi
during Napoleon's Italian conquest.
Problems pop up when the won-
D derfully repulsive chief of secret
police, Scarpia, lusts after Tosca and
imprisons Cavaradossi. The resolu-
tion is deliciously violent, includ-
ing two murders and a suicide leap.
The plot might not sound too
brilliant - critic Joe Kerman is fa-
mous for calling it a "shabby little
shocker" - but Puccini compacts
the action of his opera into a taut

The Monks of Doom
Baited Breath Productions
The Monks of Doom consider
Meridian to be their definitive pop
album. If all pop in the Top 40 was
this good, it would probably be a
divine signal for the approach of the
Second Coming.
Meridian explodes with origi-
nality, and showcases a group burst-
ing with true musical and instru-
mental talent - something fairly
rare these days when turning a drum
machine on and off is considered a
skill. Meridian is a collection of 15
excellent, complex songs that man-
age to stick in your head.
The Monks' lineup is headed by
Victor Krummenacher, the band's
laid back lead singer. He strongly
controls the helm, bringing some
measure of calm and smoothness to
the musical storm around him.
Krummenacher sings with a dis-
tinctive voice that doesn't sound
like every other lead singer's dis-
tinctive voice. He's more like a mu-
sical actor than a rock star. It sounds
as if he's telling a story, rather than
just singing lyrics.
The Monks are masters at creat-
ing the proper mood with their
songs, just like good poets.
David Immergluick provides con-
trast by singing like a raving lunatic
who stormed into the studio de-
manding to be heard. More at home
with the mellow side of the band
are the unobtrusive but amazing
guitars of Greg Lisher. And let's
not forget the legendary drummer,
Chris Pedersen (a.k.a. Crispy Der-
Meridian features some Monks
of Doom staples, like the mesmeriz-
ing instrumentals of "Geode I" and
"Geode I," blending dueling gui-
tars with some organ and harmonica
thrown in for good measure.
Other Monks standards include
folk tunes like "Argentine Dilem-
ma," which features a superb use of
twangy mandolin set to a vaguely
non-Western rhythm.
Perhaps the most typical thing
about Meridian is that it's atypical.
There are no standard rock cliches,
and every song catches the listener a
Can you read & write?
You can review books and
preview visiting writers for Daily
Arts!! Call Alan, Mike, or
Elizabeth at 763-0379.

bit off guard.
One is tempted to pass off songs
like "The Better Angels of Our Na-
ture" as yet another ballad until the
song's end, when out of your speak-
ers comes one of the most sadly
beautiful guitar solos in recent
The psychedelic aspects of "Turn
It On Himself," are perfectly
blended, and "The Door to Suc-
cess"'s "la-la's" are purely pop.
"Follow The Queen" succeeds in

mixing a folk tune on the mandolin
with a grungy guitar on one backing
track and a wildly squealing guitar.
on the other. "
The Monks play with rhythm-in-
phenomenal ways. The songs rew
through your ears and turn yp
brain on its side. Krummenacher n
Pedersen put the bass and drums Up
in the fore with the other instru-
ments, almost in the style of a p nk
- Jeremy Lech~i


Nina Warren stars as the tempestuous diva Floria Tosca, with Antonio
Adame as her lover Cavaradossi in The New York City Opera National

Company's production of Tosca.
The result is a total integration
of music and drama, the kind of
combination Richard Wagner
strived for in his massive works. As

Puccini compacts the action of Tosca into a
taut two hours of raw emotion that is, unlike
some of the four-hour yawners of earlier
masters, easily digestible for newcomers to

plains. He also notes that the politi-
cal turmoil which sets the plot into
motion is also quite familiar, and
can be easily applied to situations of
our time.
But more than anything else,
what makes Tosca such a compact
(and enjoyable) package is Puccini's
music. Puccini himself once said he
would have liked to have written
purely symphonic music, and the
tendencies are obvious here.
The orchestra never stops for
recitative or dialogue, and there are
only a few actual arias in the whole
show. Like the movements of a
symphony, the three acts build on
each other, repeating and reworking
themes that you can' t help but
whistle after the final curtain.
TOSCA will be performed tonight,
Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. at the
Power Center. Tickets, ranging
from $20 to $40, are available at the
University Musical Society box of-
fice. A limited amount of rush tick-
ets go on sale at 10 a.m. today for
$10 each. Call 764-2538 for info.

Hi-ho. hi-ho it's off to jail we no

It's interesting to see a bunch of fuck-ups like the Dwarves on the
same label that spawned current college favorites Nirvana and
Soundgarden. Unlike Sub Pop's normal '70s grunge, the Dwarves are.,.,
pure punk. Their two recent albums are collections of one-minute an:
thems like "Let's Fuck," "Skin Poppin' Slut,' and "Gash Wagon."
There's an obvious slant to their songwriting, but it has a base appeal;
a song like "Fuck You Up and Get High" can speak to some people more
than "Smells Like Teen Spirit," even if the message is somewhat ca%,
did. The band tries to maintain a connection with the audience, even iN
it involves spitting on various fans or throwing small projectiles, like .
tables. Sets usually run 20 minutes or so. Most of the material is from
BG&P and their new album, Thank Heaven for Little Girls. The
Dwarves, on record and on stage, continue the wonderful traditions of:
Iggy Pop and GG Allin by pushing boundaries even if they look like com-
plete idiots in the process. And that's a nice change of pace from thee
current release of safe music. Catch the Dwarves at the Blind Pig
tonight. Cover is $5. Doors open at 9:30 p.m. Women be warned: you - -
hang in the front, you might not come out alive.

?" ,

two hours of raw emotion that is,
unlike some of the four-hour yawn-
ers of earlier masters, easily di-
gestible for newcomers to opera.
Ken Cazan, the director of the
University's Opera Workshop who
knows Puccini's works personally,
says of the composer, "For him, the
drama came first. And the words
came first. He was very heavily in-
volved in the structure of the poetry
nr dinagne u

Cazan puts it, "Puccini created not
just music drama, but musical
drama." It's a fast-paced, multi-me-
dia experience that's completely ac-
cessible to today's audiences.
Unlike Wagner's haughty
mythological subjects, Puccini deals
with real characters you can relate
to. "At that time, opera - particu-
larly Italian opera - was moving
into a rhore realistic, or what we'd
call naturalistic phase," Cazan ex-



g1 Udu v. ,ala"U"a
' Do You?
Feb. 13, 1992 + Anderson Rooms
Union * 8:30 - 9:30 p.m.
All interested individuals welcome.

Bernie Grant
Member of theBritish'Parliament
presents a pud ic lecture on

the Wesurgence ofRacism in Europe

f -~



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Imp ficatiOns for the Internatiornaf
Aniti-R~acist audl~frti-fFascist Camp ai~gn
Hale Auditorium, Michigan Business School
Thursday, February 13, 1992





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