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November 12, 1993 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-11-12

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Th MchgaS.il

. i

'Dialogues' speaks
mn honest strains
By MELISSA ROSE BERNARDO comparison amongst standard opera
The School of Music Opera The- repertoire, but is probably closest in
atermadean intriguing choice inpro- style to ClaudeDebussy's "Pelleas et
ducing Francis Poulenc's "Dialogues Melisande."
ties Carmelites" ("Dialogue of the Powerfulperformances came from
Carmelites"). While considered per- Kathy Robinson as the Reverend
haps the best opera of the 20th cen- Mother, whose fortitude disintegrated
in the face of death as she envisions
PR N *the destruction of the convent. Lisa
Dialogues dos Ann Romero was especially moving
as the outwardly placid but inwardly
Carmelites tortured Blanche; even in her demise,
Power Center her soprano was light and clear, but
November 11, 1993 had a fullness which revealed a depth
of character.
tury because of its theme and Francesca Callow designed some
Poulenc's poignant lyricism, it is vir- rather noisy but quite fitting sets.
tually unknown to general audiences. Thankfully, Joshua Major made the
That choice, however, paid off - if smart choice of sparse direction -
not monetarily, certainly artistically. that is, staging was kept simple, al-
The story narrates the individual lowing the psychological portraits of
fates of an order of Carmelite nuns the nuns' struggles to come to the
sentto the guillotine during the French forefront, as Poulenc no doubt wished
Revolution,butthegroupofCarmelite - example, the scene in which the
nuns arise as a single heroine. To nuns sang a beautiful "Ave Maria."
portray this true story withthedignity Under the direction of the great
itdeserves, Poulenc turnedtoafinely- Martin Katz, the orchestra fulfilled
honed lyric style, rather than his the demands of Poulenc's score ad-
bawdy, showy style his music too mirably. Poulenc is not given to big
often reveals. orchestrablowouts, andmany orches-
The show's structure is very epi- tras would feel cheated in performing
sodic and fast-moving. One immedi- his music. Katz's agility not only re-
ately notices the lack of halting and mained faithful to Poulenc's score,
ill-too-often cumbersome arias that but also capitalized on Poulenc's nu-
fill most Western opera. Seasoned ances withoutovershadowing the per-
operagoers will probably find this formers.
absence offensive, but hopefully will The honesty and simplicity of
also find it suited to the theme and "Carmelites" was carried through to
structure of the opera. Poulenc's score the end in the heroic death scene. The
is refreshingly honest, unpretentious sisters faced their martyrdom, sing-
md sensitive. "Carmelites" defies ing "Salve Regina" as voices with-

Emily Brenner, left, Beth Swanson and Eric Gibson participate in the University Opera presentation of "Dialogues des Carmelites" at the Power Center.

ered away one by one with the swoop
of theguillotine.ThankstoMajor, the
climax was kept simple, ignoring the
obvious tendency to sensationalize
the comment on the strength, frailty
and resilience of the human spirit.
Poulenc's music needs no help in
bringing that message across.

It is important to realize that to
compare "Carmelites" with "Madame
Butterfly" or "The Magic Flute" is to
do a great injustice to Poulenc's mas-
terpiece. While other so-called "tra-
ditional" opera relies on flashy cos-
tumes, loud orchestral interludes and
overwhelming arias, "Carmelites"

relies on music for the sake of music;
it is an intensely moving work be-
cause of its lyrical mastery.
The School of Music took quite a
chance in this production. They could
easily have done "Carmen" and drawn
hoards of opera-lovers because of a
title. Take a chance and see "Dia-

logue of the Carmelites."

will be performed today and
Saturday at 8p.m. and Sunday at 2
p.m. at the Power Center. Tickets
are $14, $10 ($6 students) and are
available at the League Ticket
Office. Call 764-0450.

It's no Oscar nominee but enjoy it anyway
TMuOtlulturalls : . sn o ieeb tejy~tay a

It's really too bad that cute little family holiday
movies like "Look Who's Talking Now" can't
actually be released during the holidays. This film
takes place around Christmas, but had it been
released around Thanksgiving (when Christmas
movies are usually released, go figure) it would
have been buried under heaps of Academy Award
contenders and gone completely unnoticed.
Look Who's Talking Now
Directed by Tom Ropelewski; written by
Ropelewski and Leslie Dixon; with Kirstie Alley,
John Travolta and the voices of Danny DeVito
and Diane Keaton.
Would it be a crime for this film, the third in an
installment of "Look Who's Talking" pictures, to
go unnoticed? Actually, yeah, it would. This tale
of two dogs in search of a loving family is fun
stuff, and not as stupid as you'd expect after
seeing the second film in the series.
Kirstie Alley and John Travolta reprise their
roles as Molly and James Ubraccio. They fell in
love in the first movie, had another kid in the

second and now deal with the stress of raising two
children and two dogs. Molly, an accountant, gets
fired right around Christmas, while James, an
aspiring airline pilot, lands a great job flying
around the globe with the president of a major
corporation (who also happens to be gorgeous and
wants to take James to bed, but that's the least
interesting of the several plot-lines). James' new
job keeps him away from home, but he's still the
perfect father.
While dad is away playing tag with his sexu-
ally ravenous new boss, Molly has to stay home
and deal with the family's two new dogs--Rocks
(the voice of Danny DeVito) and Daphne (the
voice ofDiane Keaton). Rocks isamongrel straight
from the street, while Daphne is a prissy poodle,
educated at the Radcliffe of obedience schools.
James and little Mikey save Rocks from the pound,
and James' boss donates Daphne to the little
family. Rocks is entertaining, and the film doesn't
white-wash the problems a dog can have, espe-
cially in the urinary department. And, well-bred
Daphne owns better clothes than Molly does and
lives in a doghouse that's bigger than my apart-
All the big things that were meant to be funny
aren't that funny, while little quirky lines make

the movie very charming. The two little kids who
play Mikey and Julie are too young to have devel-
oped egos yet, so they come across as the perfect
blend of obnoxious and cute, especially the girl.
Julie dreams of flying and watches a video of the
Phoenix Suns' Charles Barkley over and over,
clutching a Charles Barkley doll to her chest. It's
a unique portrait of a young girl, complete with a
fantasy sequence where she meets Sir Charles
(who plays himself). The sequence could have
been handled better, but on the whole it's enjoy-
Which is about what this film is, enjoyable.
It'll make you long for the days when you were
four years old and the mostyou had to worry about
was whether or notmommy and daddy would buy
you everything your little heart desired. Mikey
goes through a traumatic period of anti-Santa
sentiment, but all's well in the end. Oh, yeah. And
it's the dogs that talk this time. They're not too
incredibly annoying, and the movie is okay even
with them. If you have younger brothers and
sisters, or maybe nieces and nephews, this is the
film to see, and there are enough laughs to keep
you happy as well as the kiddies.
LOOK WHO'S TALKING NOW is playing at


.:J t **

on State St. at LIberty - 994-4024
The Fugitive
2:00 4:30
7:00 9:30 11:45
Admission: $5.00 Adults, $3.00 Students
& Senior Citizens
Sleepless in Seattle
2:00 4:30
7:00 9:30 11:45
All seats $2.50 this feature only
2:00 shows Sat & Sun Only 11:45 shows Fri & Sat Only

The Outer Limits
In our era, progressive rock is al-
most dead. Good musicianship and
creative, non-traditional songwriting
are underappreciated. VoiVod has had
these qualities on their last few re-
leases, but their imagination is start-
ing to dwindle.

VoiVod, a French Canadian out-
fit, began their musical career as a
heavy, abrasive, noise-metal band.
They found their calling in progres-
sive metal on "Nothingface," which
included a great cover of Pink Floyd's
"Astronomy Domine.""Nothingface"
and a subsequent release entitled "An-
gel Rat" were their best releases to
"The Outer Limits" has a lot of

similarities to its predecessors, which
means that this progressive band is
standing still. The musicians are still
good. In fact, "Piggy," the guitarist,
has honed his experimental guitar
style, making this an interesting listen
if nothing else. The sound is a bit
sterile, but this is not the first time that
they've been criticized for that -it's
inherent in the nature of progressive
VoiVod tries their hand at writing
an epic 17 minute piece called "Jack
Luminous," but the results are more

boring than provocative. Some of the
songs achieve VoiVod's standard,
including the Floydian "The Nile
Song," "Wrong=Way Street" and "We.
Are Not Alone." The last song is
about aliens and it is the focus of the
cover art. The CD comes with a pair
of 3-D glasses used for viewing the
art in the lyric sheet. It's a pretty
interesting marketing ploy which
should have been used for a better
- Gianluca Montalti

Would you sacrifice everything for your beliefs?
Dialogues des
Carmelite s
IA powerful
based on the
true story of ,
sixteen nuns
Sforced to either~'

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