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November 18, 1992 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1992-11-18

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DaRTS
The Michigan Daily Tuesday, November 17, 1992 Page 5

Bax and
friends get
Ashkenay 's-
royal
treatment"
by Kirk Wetters
Contemporary conductors often
seem embarrassed by exciting,
overwhelming performances, but it's.
still great to hear straight-forward,
old-fashioned conducting. Vladimir
Ashkenazy's conducting of the
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on
Monday was the perfect antidote to
the mannered performances heard
too often today. His direct, sensitive
approach was successful throughout
the concert.
The first thing that struck me was
the incredible sound of the RPO - a
well-balanced sound, too. It's com-
mon to watch an orchestra's violins
play like crazy, but not be able to
hear any of their notes.
This kind of distorted balance
was never a problem for the RPO,
not even in the opulent score of Sir
Arnold Bax's "Tintagel" - even the
harp was clearly audible. Most of the
audience had probably never heard
this piece before. It sounded like
Richard Strauss rewritten by an
Englishman, with the scenic, rustic
qualities of English music built
II Y
Royal Philharmonic
Orchestra
Hill Auditorium
November 16, 1992
around a core of German late-ro-
manticism.
Not only were the RPO violins
audible, but they actually sounded
good. There was no trace of the
over-refined violin mush which is
becoming fashionable with some
conductors. The RPO strings have a
robust, aggressive sound, but can
also be delicate when necessary.
This delicacy was especially evi-
dent in the orchestra's rendition of
Mendelssohn's well-known music to
"A Midsummer Night's Dream."
Ashkenazy's direction was crisp and
light. More biting articulation would
have been to my taste, but this didn't
impair the performance as a whole.
Ashkenazy's tempo in the conclud-
ing "Wedding March" had the bride
and groom marching pretty briskly,
but it kept this over-familiar music
from seeming bombastic.
People who went hoping to be
overwhelmed by Dmitri Shosta-
kovich's Symphony No. 10 got their
money's worth. Shostakovich's
mild-mannered claim that the sym-
phony "tells of the ideas and aspira-
tions of those who strive for love
and peace" is difficult to reconcile
with the disturbing nature of most of
the music.
Ashkenazy's interpretation made
no concessions to Shostakovich's
idyllic description. The first move-
ment was marked by horrified out-
cries from the woodwinds, and op-
pressive, militant percussion attacks.
I braced myself expectantly for the
furious second movement, and

wasn't disappointed by orchestra's
blazing exuberance. Although
Ashkenazy seemed less comfortable
with the droll sarcasm of the third
movement, he more than made up
for it in the manic, tense finale.

An apple a day for the Sophs in a play

by Melissa Rose Bernardo
As a bonus for their loyal followers,
SophShow will present not one musical - but
three. That's right, folks - you heard it here
- three musicals. SophShow's fall production
is "The Apple Tree," a not-so-well-known
triple bill of very well-known fables set to
music. It is brought to you by the com-
poser/lyricist team of Sheldon larnick and
Jerry Bock, who gave us the poignant "Fiddler
on the Roof."
The first musical is based on Mark Twain's
"The Diary of Adam and Eve." Director Marc
Kessler described it as a comic look at the
world's first couple and the "humor of the idea
of two people starting off civilization." While
it is a simple comedy, it has a lot of "endearing
moments."
Frank Stockton's "The Lady or the Tiger"
is the story of the prisoner who must choose
one of two doors: behind one is a tiger (which

will kill him) and behind the other is a lady
(who will marry him). The interesting twist,
Kessler explained, is that the King's daughter
is in love with the prisoner - does she let him
get killed by the tiger, or does she spare him
only to lose him to another woman?
"Passionella: The Cinderella Story" is Jules
Feiffer's updated Cinderella, the story of an
ordinary girl and a bad rock star who become
glamorous "between the hours of 'Wheel of
Fortune' and 'The Late Late Show," Kessler
explained. With a chuckle, he added, "it's re-
ally cheesy!"
"The Apple Tree" was written with the in-.
tention that one woman and one man would
play all three couples in the three musicals.
When it was performed on Broadway, Barbara
Harris and Alan Alda played them. SophShow,
however, has cast three different couples. "The
roles are very demanding on all performers ...
we decided it would be better to give more

people the opportunity to play the roles,"Y
Kessler said.
Vocally, the show is extremely demanding,a
a common characteristic of MUSKET andj
SophShow productions. Musical director
Maryann Lombardi referred to the appeal of
the score: "We've got the sappy ballad, the
sexy torch song, the Marilyn Monroe 'S0s
musical songs ... so it can fulfill a lot of differ-+
ent musical styles." Lombardi was also pleased
with the decision to cast three different cou-
ples. "The woman is required to sing light-7
heartedly and purely, yet at the same time to+
belt her guts out," she explained. For .one
woman to sing all three roles would produce
an incredible amount of vocal strain. .
The show does include a chorus, which
both Kessler and Lombardi referred to as an,
integral part of the show. Lombardi elaborated:,
"The chorus serves a function of their own;
they accentuate the leads but they are not (just),

underscoring." The chorus does not merely ac-
company the three couples; rather, the individ-
ual members play numerous roles while still
functioning as a group.
When asked about a particular universal
message the show had to offer, Kessler drew a
blank. "Geez! (laughter)... To show that (more
laughter) even through all the different periods
of time, people had dreams and problems that
are pretty much the same."
Putting on one musical is a feat in itself, but
putting on three? Kessler was extremely confi-
dent, however - "We've pulled it off!" he
said - and very optimistic. Because each mu-
sical is so different, Kessler promised, "there's
definitely something for everyone."
THE APPLE TREE will be performed Thurs-
day through Saturday at 8 p.m. at the
Mendelssohn Theater. General admission
tickets are $5.50 in advance, $6.50 at the door
and are available at the Union Ticket Office.

a

1 eyu t lt

THE MICHIGAN BBA

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Has more to offer
Receive information on
New BBA Opportunities
* Senior Seminar
" CIS Curriculum
" Study Abroad for BBA's
Thursday, November 19, 1992
4:00 - 5:00 PM
Hale Auditorium
(Michigan Business School Assembly Hall)

"The Lady or the Tiger" scene from "The Apple Tree," this weekend at the Mendelssohn. MOLLY STEVENS/Daily

WHO~ : HA [IWNE: REI WNi E;1~~ :

DAILY ARTS SEZ:
Support Campus Cinema

}Tor additionalinformation
we incite you to contact:
Office of Admissions and Student Services
1235 School of Business Administration
(313) 763-5796

Gleaning the cubist
As much as we truly admire the
ArtVideo at noon, and really
strongly urge you to drop in to the
Museum of Art (747-0521) today
to see Part III (it's OK, we missed
parts I and II, too) of a Picasso
documentary (what did he do in
Paris during WWII after all?), if
you can only drag yourself to a
single event a day, we simply must
mention a few other, shall we say,
odd events.
Bavarian sprinkles?
First of all, let's do the food.
Ina Hanel (don't ask us, we don't
know her either) has graciously
agreed to demonstrate how one
would go about decorating a

lebkuchen (which, as we're sure
you know, is a traditional German
Christmas cookie). Stop in to the
Kempf House (312 S. Division)
from 12:20 to 12:50 p.m. (After
all, they do say that refreshments
will be served.)
On the skids
But if Picasso or cookies can't
stop you in your tracks, how about
the "Buhrrr Blast"? Every winter
Wednesday at Buhr Park's outdoor
rink, from 3:30 to 5:15 p.m. you
can pay $2.75 and play broomball
or participate in (and we are dying
to do this).big wheels on ice! What
more could a mildly bored
dilettante want? Call 971-3228 for
the low-down.

iV

"A GOOFY TIME-WARP TO CHILDHOOD'
' HOORtY FORt
A RETRO 60's TV BASH
.Complete Underdog Episode
*Gearge OF The Jungle
*super Chicken
"Hoppity Hooper 3 Uncle Waldo
. Tennessee Tuxedo " Go-Go Gophers
*Classic 60's Kids Commercials
Thurs-Fri November 1 9-20
MICHIGAN THEATER
b03 E. LUSERTY " ANN ARBOR " 668-8480
Shows: Thurs. 10:30 pu / Fri. 7:00 & Midnight

M

i

SOP-I Si-lOW 1992 PRESENTS
THE APPLE TREE

A MUSICAL IN 3 ACTS

MUSIC AND LYRICS BY SHELDON HARNICK AND JERRY BOCK. BASED ON
SHORT STORIES BY MARK TWAIN, FRANK R. STOCKTON, & JULES FEIFFER
November 19-21 8 PM
Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre

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