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April 12, 1993 - Image 7

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-04-12

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ARTS'

TeMcia Dily Mnda, April 12193 ag

Bartoli: not perfect, but veryclose

by Michelle Weger
She elicited sigh, giggles, enthusi-
astic applause anda boisterous "Brava!"
That was before young Cecilia even
finished her first set. The highly antici-
Cecilia Bartoli
Hill Auditorium
April 10, 1993
pated, even hyped, appearance of this
26 year-old Romana on Saturday
evening at Hill Auditorium was even
more than it was promised to be, but
also a little less.
Accompanied by the inimitable
Martin Katz, Bartoli sang a program of
arie antiche and songs and arias by
Mozart, Rossini and Scarlatti, almost
The first two sets came from her recent
London Records mega-hit "If You Love
Me." Each set of five numbers was
well-paced, featuring a variety of tem-

pos and moods, and each showcased
her gifts for sweet legato, fiery fioratura
and even her sense of humor.
I'm not one to applaud after every
selection, and am generally annoyed
when those in the audience refuse to
wait until the end of a group to show its
appreciation, as they did on Saturday
night. However, I found myself break-
ing protocol once or twice and enthusi-
astically joining in. After Bartoli's ex-
tremely sensitive delivery of"Caromio
ben" ("My dear love"), heartfelt ap-
plause was inevitable. A sparkling ren-
dition of "Chi vuollazingarella," ("Who
wants the gypsy girl") which followed
was a marked and brilliant contrast.
I' d rathernotdescribe B artoli's voice
by parroting the already-well-worn
phrases that have come to be associated
with it, such as "seamless," "warm,"
"fluid" and "glorious." Her coloratura
mezzo-soprano was indeed all of those

things, and Bartoli used it well. Hers is
a very natural talent, and her best sing-
ing came when she simply did what
comes naturally.
Unfortunately, there were moments
when her technique showed through,
when it became apparent that she was
working very hard. What sets Bartoli
apart from many coloraturas, however,
is that it shows in her body more than in
hervoice. The mostobvious example of
this could be found in her posture. Dur-
ing intense, fast pieces, her shoulders
and arms bore much of her tension;
slower, more intimate songs seemed to
allow her to relax and be truly expres-
sive. Throughout, however, her tone
was consistently free and beautifully
spun. These problems were notmuch in
evidence during her most successful
set, a performance of Rossini's songs
about a Venetian regatta. On the con-
trary, she simply exuded the excitement

of a young girl watching her lover win
a race, without posturing or stiffness.
Much of my disappointment with
the recital (and that disappointment is
very slight) had more to do with pro-
gramming than anything else.The first
two sets, while beautifully sung, were
far too similar to allow Bartoli to ex-
plore a wide range of emotions. While
Bartoli managed to bring life tomostof
the characters we heard and saw the
same vocal and physical gestures one
too-many times to find each piece en-
tirely believable.
In all probability, Bartoli could
continue to give performances exactly
like Saturday's for the rest of her career
and never hurt for wildly enthusiastic
audiences. But it would be a shame for
a woman of Bartoli's talent not to de-
velop her natural sense for both drama
and humor, or to fail to mature into a
more genuine, relaxed performer.

Almost all of Ann Arbor was at the Cecilia Bartoli concert Saturday.

T -- __ . - v - - - - a

Stars star
by Alson J. Levy

IknewI was in trouble as soon as I
got to the screening room to see the
preview for "The Sandlot." First, we
hadto wait for about 30 pre-pubescent
high-schoolers to show up and Chan-
nel 2 reporter Jerry Staneke sat behind
me in his faux-varsity jacket, with his
feet on the seats, droning on about
himself. We watched the film, an en-
tertaining hybrid of "Stand By Me",
and "The Bad News Bears." It's about
anerdnamed Scotty (Tom Guiry) who
moves toanew town and is taken inby
arag tag baseball team. All the kids are
funny and afraid of 'The Beast" be-
hind the fence. It's up to Scotty and
Benny (Mike Vitar) to face the Beast in
order to complete the growing up pro-
cess. You've heard it all before.
Butafter thefilmwhich was pretty
good, the real adventure began. I took
my 14-year-old-accomplice Douglas
to the Ponchartrain and after getting
confused on the Lodge and a few
valium, we pulled into valet parking a
few minutes late. I don't know much
Morning

id by 'a
about valetparking, soltossed the guy
my keys and said, "I'll be back in about
thirty minutes and you might have to
move the seat back."
Inside the lobby, things got even
more confusing between the potted
palms, and the 25 shiny escalators. A
moustached man approached and said,
"Are you Lynn?" "Nope." We went to
the desk and asked the friendly atten-
dant for Felix and the Marontate pub-
lic relations suites. "I'm Felix." We
spun around and it was the mous-
tached man again. "Oh, my name's
Alison." Did he forget my name, or
was Lynn just the secret code? In any
case, we were on our way up to the
suite.

Sandlot"directorDavidMickeyEvans
was on the phone with someone in
L.A. Basically, the extremelyloudcon-
versation went something like this:
"Dude, you gotta get Nicholson or De
Niro for that. I know Jack'll do it. You
can totally have him, lemme talk to
Nicholson about it, blah, blah, blah."
Trying to ignore him, I prepared my
questions and then gazed out at the
loveliness that is the Detroit river.
Finally, the up-and-coming Griffin
Mill got off the phone and settled
down for my probing questions. The
interview was pretty basic and boring.
I was mesmerized by his well-condi-
tioned hair and perfectly even tan:
very impressive and almost scary. The
most interesting thing he talked about
was once writing a screenplay in 36
hours. When I told him I had 10 days
left for mine, he wished me lots of
luck. Unfortunately, I strayed toward
the subject of violence and Harvey
Keitel, who I was soon told was a
"very close friend, really goodfriend,"
See SANDLOT, Page 10

ndlot'

The suite was larger than my whole
apartment. The interviewees were no-
where to be found. So, Douglas and I
sunk into the huge white couch and
went over our press-goodies, which
included a baseball hat, a baseball,
gum, marbles, trading cards and a dog
leash. But it was hard to discuss the
value of our findings because "The

"The Sandlot," starring Mike Vitar, ought to appeal to pre-pubescent fans of "Stand by Me."

needs some direction

by Karen Lee
The biggest waste of an afternoon I have ever spent.
I'm sorry my critique is so harsh, especially since, judg-
ing from the reactions of the rest of the audience, I was the
only one who felt this way. Everybody laughed at almost
every line, and, apparently, when "Morning's at Seven" was
performed during the first half of this century, the New York
Postcalledthis "oneof themost wickedly funny plays." I beg
to differ.
The play takes place in Anytown, U.S.A. in the early
1930's, intwobac ards.On the leftliveCora andTheodore
"Morning's at Seven"
Mendelssohn Theater
April 10, 1993
Swanson and her unmarried sister, Aaronetta Gibbs; on the
rightare Cora andAari's sister, Ida Bolton, her husband Carl,
and their son, Homer. Cora wants to live alone with her
husband; however, Aari is in love with him and won't let him
go. Idahas amixed-up husband who has no idea where he is
in life and a son who won't leave home. Things get compli-
cated when Homer brings homeMyrtle, his fiancee of seven
years, to meet the parents. Also making their appearance are
the fourth sister, Esther Crampton, who lives down the street,
and her pompous intellectual husband, David, who forbids
his wife to see her family because he thinks that they're all
morons.
The sets were wonderful. The porches of two lifelike
houses stood at each side of the stage, with a trellis up center
that led out onto the street. It was all very realistic; however,
that was just about where all semblance to life ended.
The actors, for the most part, were completely one-
dimensional, and did not have the timing to carry off many
of the jokes. Robert Bowes, as Theodore, was all affected

gestures, while Sandy Hudson Thomasson, who played
Cora, was almost uniformldy shrewish. Barbara Smith Hilbish,
as Ida, was gratingly foolish, as was her husband, played by
Mark S. Vukasovich. Laurie Greig Atwood, portraying
meek little Myrtle, tried, and even had some moments when
she was truly affecting; the problem was that she had to play
off Jim Piper's Homer, whose performance consisted of
loud, practically monotone voice and stiff, half-hearted
gestures. Carol Duffy Sheldon, as Aari, did a nice job, but
even she was bothersome at time.
There were, however, two bright spots in Phyllis Wright
and Robin Barlow as the acidicly wise Esther and the
pretentious David. These two actors had almost perfect
timing and great presence. There was a scene in Act II when
the couple reaffirmtheir love foreach other; it was absolutely
natural and true, and a wonderful moment. It was a shame
that they weren't on for more of the play.
Maybe, as a fan of the humor of Monty Python, Denis
Leary, Lanford Wilson, and Harvey Fierstein, I simply
couldn'tappreciate the obvious one-liners and gags. It seemed
to me that I was watching a really bad old sitcom. Yet the
show might actually have been funnier if the actors had the
timing that is essential for a play like this.
I think, though, thatmostof the deficiencies were the fault
of the director, Charles Sutherland. In fact, it seemed almost
as if there were no direction. The staging, for the most part,
was artificial, as when he had his actors turn completely to
face the audience; I understand that actors have to "cheat,"
but they barely looked at each other. Plus, there was no
attention paid to creating a rapport between the actors.
For about three quarters of the show, I was seriously
considering walking out; the only reason I didn't was be-
cause I was writing aboutit. Maybe I'mbeing mean-spirited,
or I'm too young, or, in this day and age, too jaded. But all I
could think about during "Morning's at Seven" was that I
should have been home studying.

THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
The William W. Cook Lectures
on American Institutions
Thirty-fifth Series
TUEAUEICAN
ART MUSEUM'IODAY:
TIUEE RPSPEVS
Lecture 1: Wednesday, April 14
"On a New Foundation:
The American Art Museum Reconceived"
Stephen E. Weil
Deputy Director
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Lecture 2: Thursday, April 15
"The Uffizi: History, Present Problems
and Hopes for the Future"
Annamaria Petrioli Tofani
Director
Galleria degli Uffizi
Lecture 3: Friday, April16
'The State of the Art"
Maria Tucker
Founder and Director
The New Museum of Contemporary Art

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