The Michigan Daily - Friday, December 4,1992- Page 9
A Very Special Christmas 2
With some of the weather lately,
you might have thought it was
Christmas. Well, the record compa-
nies did, too. In addition to records
by solo artists, there's also "A Very
Special Christmas 2" with a variety
of performers contributing their tal-
ents to fund the Special Olympics.
Both Paul Young ("What
Christmas Means to Me") and Jon
Bon Jovi ("Please Come Home for
Christmas") rise above their reputa-
tions and deliver genuinely soulful
renditions. There are lots of duets,
and they all sound fine: Frank Sina-
tra and Cyndi Lauper (especially
Lauper) put a lot of energy into
"Santa Claus is Comin' to Town",
and Ronnie Spector and Darlene
Love recreate the "(Phil) Spector
sound" associated with their greatest
hits. The best song on the collection
is Sindad O'Connor's ethereal take
on Bob Dylan's "I Believe in You."
Of course, the album includes a
few clunkers, like Michael "Severe
Intestinal Pain" Bolton ruining
"White Christmas," and Wilson
Philips' overcharged (there's an
electric guitar break) "Silent Night."
With a CD player you can skip the
* dross and keep playing the really
successful Christmas songs here.
Yes, it's that time of year, but
there's hope yet: you don't have to
listen to Garth Brooks if you don't
want to. There's always Randy
Travis, singing "Jingle Bell Rock."
The Messiah graces Hill
The long-standing local tradition ives forever and ever
Apollo Records folded in 1962,
but thankfully Delmark has begun to
resurrect Apollo's impressive as-
sortment of jazz, blues, gospel, and
whatnot. One of the shining jewels
of this series is Dinah Washington's
1945 sessions with Lucky Thomp-
son's All Stars.
Fresh from a two year stint with
Lionel Hampton's Orchestra, 1945
finds Miss D with the energy of a
blossoming career and the soulful
skill of a seasoned blues singer.
Although she had made her record-
ing debut only two years earlier,
Dinah's childhood gospel singing
helped form the penetrating strength
and emotion of her mature style in
'45. Her vocals may seem con-
strained by the rigidity of the blues
pentatonic, but her characteristic in-
flections and tone personalize the
music. When she sings, "I'm not
going to be your servant," you don't
question her sincerity. (Her quick
tongue and hot temper tore apart
anyone who stood in her way.)
Thompson's subdued arrange-
ments float Dinah's blue vocals in a
smooth but dexterous jazziness.
Thompson's own hushed tenor
wraps her in warmth. Milt Jackson
tinkles away a few great solos on
vibes. Charles Mingus also takes
part, but his bass is mostly relegated
to rhythmic support.
Another side of Miss D is her
silly, but self assertive humor. Slick-
talkin', slang-laden tunes like "No
Voot No Boot(y)" show Dinah jiv-
ing like jazzbeaux about her bodily
pride. (1 iervoot is really vout, don't
ya know.) Yet, this same bodily
consciousness tragically drove her to
o.d. on diet pills in our own Detroit
in 1963, a victim of the national hys-
teria for thinness.
The day of the wimpy, delicate
Brit boy with a bowlcut seems to be
over. They've been replaced by the
wimpy, delicate Brit boy with long,
scraggly hair, sneers on their pouty
little faces, and a fuzz box for their
little guitars. Enter Scorpio Rising,
the latest (but definitely not greatest)
bad boy Brit band.
Like contemporaries the Sense-
less Things, Scorpio Rising has
heard Ned's Atomic Dustbin, and
are trying to make a career out of
aping them. Trashed-out guitars,
whiny vocals, and frantic rhythms
are all over "Zodiac Killers." But
where Ned's succeed with their un-
self-conscious and inspired take on
thrashy, happy-go-lucky pop, the
Scorps just don't cut the mustard.
Occasionally, they find a catchy
little hook, ("Saturnalia") and
Scorpio Rising sound like they're an
energetic little bunch. When they
shed the tough boy veneer, ("Rage
On") a nifty melody is even uncov-
But in the end, it's just another
case of "been there, done that."
by Melissa Rose Bernardo
The University Musical Society (UMS) cordially
invites you to be a part of a deeply-rooted Ann Arbor
holiday tradition - the annual presentation of the glo-
rious "Messiah." George Frideric Handel's beloved ora-
torio premiered 250 years ago in Dublin, Ireland. This
work is considered Handel's greatest musical achieve-
Maestro Thomas Hilbish, University Professor
Emeritus of Music, will conduct the University Choral
Union, the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, and four
accomplished soloists - soprano Kaaren Erickson, alto
Gail Dubinbaum, tenor Jon Humphrey, and bass Gary
Relyea - in this monumental performance.
The work is what is known as an oratorio, a musical
setting for soloists, chorus, and orchestra, written for the
explicit purpose of telling a ;tory with a religious or
contemplative message. The focus of "Messiah" is the
coming of Christ, as told in the Bible.
UMS promotion coordinator Steven Pierce explained
that Handel conveniently divided his work into three
parts, within which are numerous individual pieces. The
first, he explained, deals with "the Old Testament
prophecies regarding the birth (of Christ) and the New
Testament stories of the birth," predominantly from the
Book of Isaiah. The second is "the passion narrative,"
which chronicles the events leading up to and including
the crucifixion. The final portion is the affirmation of
faith, which comes after Christ's Resurrection.
Pierce acknowledged the staunchly religious nature
of the "Messiah." However, he did not believe that the
religious implications of the piece would alienate non-
Christian audience members. "(It might be a problem)
for some, but we think it is an important work - an
immense work - in the oratorio tradition and in musi-
cal history," he said. "The musical quality is especially
good because of the way the orchestra music is used to
enhance the text and express a very emotional subject
- a subject which has been a tremendous influence on
Western society:" UMS is presenting the work as an
enlightening musical representation of a theme, not as a
UMS's involvement with the "Messiah" is nearly as
old as the piece itself. Pierce detailed the rich history:
"Churches around the city wanted to get together and do
big choral works ... they all got together and formed,
(what is known today as) the University Choral Union."
The University Choral Union is today a co-ed ensemble
of about 200, widely ranging in age and occupation, in-
cluding students. "Their initial performance of the'
'Messiah' was so successful that they wanted to per-
form other choral works, so they brought in other or-
chestras from other cities to work with them."
Eventually, someone discovered that it was a good
idea to bring in musical acts, and, Pierce said, "UMS
grew out of that as a presenting organization," bringing
artists like the New York City Opera, Marcel Marceau'
and the Kirov Orchestra to Ann Arbor.
With the array of performers to choose from, the
question becomes, why UMS would choose to repeat
the "Messiah" year after year? "Tradition," Pierce re-
sponded, without missing a beat. "It's the impetus for
the formation of our musical society."
In conjunction with the University of Michigan Pub-
lic Relations Association (UMPRA), UMS donated
tickets to the Arbor House, a housing facility for parents
whose children receive care at area hospitals. "UMS is
always looking for ways to involve the community in
their presentations of diverse kinds of musical and cul-
HANDEL'S MESSIAH will be performed Saturday at 8
p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Hill Auditorium. Tickets
range from $8-16; call 764-2538 for info.
Webber or not you like it, 'Phantom' has arrived
Irr - 1 ~ Jra i uiP
by Jason Carroll
The long wait is finally over -
the Phantom has unmasked himself
in Detroit. Most people, like myself,
have been holding their tickets for
over seven months now, and it was
worth every minute of the wait.
"The Phantom of the Opera" is
Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's roman-
Phantom of the Opera
November 25, 1992
New Masonic Temple Theatre
tic, musical epic that tells the famil-
iar story of a young soprano Chris-
tine (Teri Bibb) and her disfigured
tutor, the Phantom (Kevin Gray),
who resides beneath the stage of the
Paris Opera House and falls deeply
in love with Christine.
Since the show requires actors
sculpture of an angel. Descending
half-way down to the stage with the
sculpture, the Phantom passionately
belted out the words to "All I Ask of
You." In addition, the Phantom per-
formed disappearing feats that even
David Copperfield would have ad-
The underground lake scene, set
beneath the opera house, was elegant
as the Phantom and Christine rode a
boat across the stage through hun-
dreds of candles. Smoke rose from
the stage until they reached, the
Phantom's cobwebbed lair, complete
with an antique wax covered organ.
If you're a sucker for romance,
you'll love "The Phantom of the
Opera." It's described as the perfect
show for people who aren't too fond
of the theater, and I have to agree.
Boasting spectacular visuals, many
things happen in "The Phantom"
A//b SOAA NAY
If you're a sucker for romance, you'll love
'The Phantom of the Opera.' It's described as
the perfect show for people who aren't too
fond of the theater, and I have to agree.
It's theater for those who don't like theater. It's a spectacle for those who
don't like spectacles. It's a $60 ticketfor those who don't like money. It's Sir
Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera" in Detroit. Guess the
requirements for knighthood are pretty lax these days.
that can perform opera and musical
theater, the performers must be very
flexible. Kevin Gray joined this tour
after a one year stint as the Phantom
on Broadway. During "All I Ask of
You," Gray's voice was remarkably
similar to that of the original Phan-
tom, Michael Crawford. Teri Bibb's
voice soared with the great acoustics
at the Masonic Temple.
Ironically, the real star of the
show wasn't the actors, but the set.
Because the show rakes in millions
each year, it can afford a huge, lav-
ish set. As the show opened, a 1200-
pound chandelier was raised above
the audience. At the end of the first
act it swept over the audience and
crashed onto the stage.
Throughout the show, when caus-
ing trouble in the opera house, the
Phantom walked above a golden
proscenium arch topped off with a
that I thought would never be
possible in live theater.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
runs through February 14 at the
New Masonic Temple Theatre in
Detroit. Performances are Tues.-Sat.
at 8 p.m. and Sun. at 7:30 p.m., with
2 p.m. matinees on Sat. and Sun.
Tickets are $22.50-$60. Call 832-
2232 for more info.
26 Maynard a 995-1888
OPEN 7 DAYS 8 am - 11 pm
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