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April 08, 1994 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-04-08

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RTS

Standing ovation closes
out the CSO triumph
BY KATY THOMPSON
Ricardo Averbach and the Campus Symphony Orchestra brought the
audience to its feet in Tuesday's performance with their hardest assignment
yet, Beethoven's No. 9.
Immediately following the con-
cert, Averbach said, "This perfor-
Beethoven's Ninth mance took alot of effort and organi-
zation. I'm glad that it went well."
Hill Auditorium The highlight of the performance
April 5, 1994 was the Finale, "Ode to Joy." Two
choirs and four soloists, as well as the
Campus Symphony Orchestra came together for an incredible performance, if
not for the decibel level alone.
The finale started with the cellos quietly playing the familiar melody of the
"Ode to Joy." Then, quickly, it spread throughout the whole orchestra.
Suddenly, Averbach made it explode with all the voices and instruments
playing together in an eruption of volume.
Fortunately, the sheer volume didn't drown out any of the melody, but
added to the general celebration. The Orchestra and voices complemented
each other well, and Averbach let the choir and the Symphony play as one.
Bass Leslie Guinn opened his solo powerfully, leading the Orchestra with
"O friends, no more these tones!" Tenor Mark Beudert followed in a strong,
clear voice which could be heard throughout the auditorium.
Combined with soprano Jane Schoonmaker-Rogers and contralto Rose-
mary Russell, Guinn and Beudert sang together with the two choirs for a
striking interpretation. Although at times the voices were muddled with the
orchestra, all in all the effect was impressive.
Since the voices didn't enter the piece until the last movement, it was up
to the Orchestra to showcase the first three movements, which they did well.
The first movement started out slowly, but the CSO quickly warmed up to
the piece and made it their own. They manipulated the melody with contrast
and expression.
Building throughout the second movement, the orchestra evoked a dainty
melody, which appeared to dance throughout the hall. Averbach was an
animated conductor, almost reaching into the instruments for the sounds.
The concert ended with a standing ovation, which was certainly deserved
on all parts.

01

Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons fall short of expectations in Bille August's "The House of the Spirits."
LackigLatin stifles the 'Spirits'

0

BY CAMILO FONTECILLA
When I was a child, my father told
me a story about his travels through
the Chilean grasslands at the base of
The House of the
Spirits
Written for the screen and directed by
Bille August; with Winona Ryder,
Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Jeremy
Irons and Antonio Banderas.
the Andes. One day he stopped at an
isolated country house and asked to
stay the night. The mistress of the
house gladly took him in, but warned

him not to be alarmed by the clocks
chiming at midnight. Sure enough,
when the witching hour came, the
house shook with the clamor of count-
less clocks. My father searched the
house for the origin of the sounds, but
wherever he looked, there were no
clocks to be found.
"The House of the Spirits" per-
haps offered a chance to further un-
derstand the magic of Chile, a land
seasoned by ocean currents and moun-
tainous chill. But the film is actually
filmed in Portugal and Denmark! This
displacement is a reflection of the
paradox that permeates this film. It is
not Latin enough, not native enough,

not rugged enough. Despite some
glimpses of genuine roughness, it is
obvious that Bille August is more
comfortable representing the north-
ern coolness that was so finely drawn
in "The Best Intentions."
The magic that was evidently so
integral to Allende's tale never finds
The magic that was
evidently so Integral to
Allende's tale never
finds Its place In
August's film. It flitters
in and out; Instead of

I

canvassing the story it
PCsRsbecomes little more
than a feminine wile.

The Housing Direc ch Advisory Committee
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its place in August's film. It flitters in
and out; instead of canvassing the
story it becomes little more than a
feminine wile. With its loss, the por-
traiture of the female characters also
loses consistency. As a result, what
should have been a story about women
rising spiritually above their men
comes dangerously close to being the
oft-told tale of one man, his errors and
his eventual redemption.
This man is Esteban Trueba (Jer-
emy Irons). From poverty he rises to
become a powerful landowner, a ruth-
less potentate with a keen eye for
business and politics. He then weds
Clara (Meryl Streep), who has se-
cretly loved him since childhood.
Clara has clairvoyant and telekinetic
powers, and she anticipates almost
every death in the film. Ferula (Glenn
Close), Esteban's single sister, moves
in with them. As the bond between
Clara and Ferula tightens, Esteban
sees his patriarchal control threatened.
Thus, he banishes his sister from his

home, but she condemns him with a
curse of eternal loneliness.
Meanwhile Blanca (Winona
Ryder), daughter of the Truebas, is
flourishing. In her youth, she falls in
love with Pedro (Antonio Banderas),
a laborer on her father's property and W
a strong advocate of worker's rights.
Esteban hates him for his revolution-
ary tendencies, and when he discov-
ers that he is sleeping with Blanca, he
is out to have his head.
Fdrula's curse takes effect, and
Clara, avowing never to speak to
Esteban again, moves back to the city
with Blanca. The birth of Alba, daugh-
ter of Blanca and Pedro, and the on-
slaught of the 1973 military coup lead
the film to its climax.
In the span of these 40-some years
there is obviously much more that
stirs the Trueba family, including
Esteban's bastard son (fruit of the
rape of a native woman), the political
intrigues of the conservative right,
and the lesbian allusions in the Clara-
F6rula relationship. This lack of fo-
cus often ails the film, and in particu-
lar its main through-line, Clara's life.
As we approach the end, however,
it experiences a surprising rebirth.
Blanca's story, as she undergoes the
trials of military questioning and tor-
ture for Pedro's protection, is quite
absorbing.
While most of the cast seems oddly
out of place (excepting a grounded
Banderas), Ryder is startlingly bril- 0
liant. Who would have thought she
would find her niche in a story
drenched with Latin passion; she is
commanding, comfortable and brings
genuine fire to the last third of the
film.
Ryder draws a solid close to this
travelogue of lust, hatred and land-
scapes, a book with many scattered
pictures, some affecting and effec-
tive, others blurry and trivial. An in-
fusion of Latin spirit mighthave given
this "house" the truth it sorely lacks.
THE HOUSE OF THE SPIRITS is
playing at the Ann Arbor 1&2 and
Showcase.
YOUR BEST OF
BALLOTS ARE "
BEING COUNTED...
RESULTS NEXT
THURSDAY

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