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November 11, 1994 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-11-11

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TS

The Michigan Daily ~i.I S.] e17K1;19 Pg

'U' opera satistfies the sweet tooth
'Hansel and Gretel' shines with soprano Joni-Marie Crotty's Gretel

By MATT CARLSON
Englebert Humperdinck's "Hansel
and Gretel" was one of the most widely
seen operas when it was premiered
over 100 years ago. Loosely based on

Hansel
and Gretel
Power Center
November 10, 1994
the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, the op-
era was revered for its simple direct-
ness and subtle charm as it toured
throughout the world consistently for a
decade at the turn of the century.
The University School of Music
Opera Theatre brought some of its own
sweetness to the Power Center last
night, in its production of

Humperdinck's often too sweet opera,
thanks in large part to a wonderfully
vivid portrayal of Gretel by Joni-Marie
Crotty.
We all know the how the folk story
goes. Hansel and Gretel get into trouble
with their mother and are sent out into
the dark forest to gather berries. The
playful children get lost and fall asleep.
When they wake in the morning, Hansel
and Gretel find themselves before a
large, sweet house made of ginger-
bread and candy. The two children
begin to eat, but are captured by a
wicked witch who plans on cooking
and eating Hansel andGretel. The witch
is defeated when the children push her
into the stove.
As the two children, Jennifer Ellen
Cobb and Crotty exhibit strong chem-
istry together, both dramatically and
vocally, particularly in the second act.
In Act I, however, Cobb's Hansel was
a bit too nasal, which sometimes re-

suited in being drowned out by both
Crotty and the wonderfully lyric or-
chestra conducted by Martin Katz. In
Act II, Cobb seemed to gain some
vocal power back and, with Crotty,
performed some of the best duets of the
opera.
Crotty's voice is strong yet playful,
presenting young Gretel's frolicking
nature with delicate ease. Nothing is
strained in her performance, as she
flows easily along the musical scale.
Other singers in this production are
capable, but Crotty is magnificent.
The chorus for "Hansel and Gretel"
is comprised of children from Dicken
Elementary School. Though they awk-
wardly stumbled through their chore-
ography in Act I, they were quite good
vocally at the end of the production.
Together with the rest of the cast, they
built into a large crescendo, ending the
opera with strength and grace.
Melody Racine also gives a strong

performance as the witch, by far the
most difficult vocal role in
Humperdinck's composition. Like the
witch's sweeping arm motions,
Racine's voice bounds all over the
musical map, which she managed to
navigate successfully last night. There
is nothing wicked about Racine's witch,
however, which diverges significantly
from the Grimm brothers' tale.
In fact, the entirety of
Humperdinck's "Hansel and Gretel" is
absolutely tame - a piece of fun fluff
for the family to enjoy. At times, the
sweetness of the music and the sim-
plicity of the plot are a bit too
underwhelming, but the University
Opera Theatre, and Joni-Marie Crotty
in particular, overwhelmed the audi-
ence last night with their densely col-
ored and beautiful voices.
HANSEL AND GRETEL will be
performed tonight and Saturday
night at 8p.m. and Sunday at 2p.m.
at the Power Center. Tickets are $16,
$12 ($6 students), and are available
at the Michigan League Box Office
or at the door. Tickets are
transferred to the Power Center box
office one hour prior to performance.
Call 764-0450.

Various Artists
Murder Was the Case
Death Row Records
Considering the Dogg Pound's con-
tributions to the highly successful re-
leases of Snoop's "Doggystyle" and
Warren G's "Regulate ... G Funk Era"
- not to mention their presence on the
"Above the Rim" and "Jason's Lyric"
soundtracks - all in one year, you'd
think these men and women would be
taking a much-deserved rest from the

music biz.
But, word is born, the Dogg Pound
has returned, and once again a new
brainchild has been born and christned
"Murder Was the Case."
Actually, this LP is a pseudo-
soundtrack of a 20-minute movie fea-
turing your friend and mine, Calvin
Broadus (a.k.a. Snoop Doggy Dogg),
rapping the CD'stitle track while slowly
dying after being hit by a gang bang.
The rapping is fierce on "Murder

p -

135th
1 ,.

Universitof Michigan
Men s Glee Club
Annual Fall Concert
Jerry Blackstone,
Director

Was the Case," as Snoop shows when
rapping the title track (actually a remix
of the original version from
"Doggystyle"). Using what I call his
trademark "country-ghetto" drawl,
Snoop tears his shit up. Rapping with
the rest of tha Dogg Pound, Lil' Style
and Young Swoop in "Who Got Some
Gangsta Shit" and Tray Deee' in "21
Jumpstreet," Snoop just don't quit.
But, Snoop doesn't try and steal the
show from others. The first track from
the much-anticipated Dr. Dre/Ice Cube
rap duet has finally dropped. Entitled
"Natural Born Killaz," it's no
dissapointment. D.J. Quik jumps out of
nowhere and busts some rhymes in
"Dollars & Sense" and Dogg Pounder
Nate Dogg shows out in "One More
Day."
"Murder Was the Case" isn't just a
rap-fest, though. Jewell uses her vocal
skillz to their fullest in "Harvest for the
World" and "Woman to Woman," B-
Rezell oozes of sex in the aptly-titled
See RECORDS, Page 9
. s

By ROBERT YOON
Just when you thought you could
safely open up adaily news publication
such as this one and not encounter a
single, pesky reference to NAFTA, the
San Francisco Mime Troupe delivers
the acclaimed musical comedy "Off-
shore," which not only mentions
NAFTA, but sets it to song and dance.
Hooked?
You will be. It initially may sound
more like an economics lecture than
biting political commentary, but "Off-
shore," which drops its anchor in Ann
Arbor tonight at Pioneer High School,
is far from dull. It is a scorching politi-
cal send-up that promises to be more
entertaining than watching Al Gore
and Ross Perot slap fight on "Larry
King Live." Although it tackles such
erudite issues as tariffs and East-West
trade relations, it also highlights the far
more familiar themes ofcultural clashes
and xenophobic intolerance as eco-
nomic policy.

The play opens in a Japanese bar, as
two negotiators struggle to settle a trade
dispute between the United States and
Japan. Representing the East is a Japa-
nese business tycoon who still harbors
much ill-will over the bombing of
Hiroshima. The American envoy, a
Detroit-born son of laid-off
autoworkers, blames Japan for the "de-
struction" of the US auto industry. Who
better to forge an amicable agreement
than two people who blame each other
for their woes? In short, bitterness
abounds, and the stage is set for an
intense examination of East-West rela-
tions.
The trade negotiation serves as the
hub from which several smaller stories
spring. There's the tycoon's daughter
who must choose between Japanese
tradition and western-style freedom;
the California factory owner whose
livelihood hinges on the negotiation;
and the homeless man who lambastes
the "BMW-driving, StairMaster-climb-
ing buttheads" of the upper 20% of the
American economic totem pole. Each
person's story is intrinsically linked to
the results of the trade talks, whether or
not they realize it.
And even if talk of tariffs and trade
doesn't put the fizz in your soda, worry
not, because "Offshore" is less a story
about international trade than it is about
the lives of people in the global com-
munity.It presents an alternate view of
the New World Order.
This may all seem rather somber

Hansel and Gretel: another perfect example of kids abusing adults.

NAFTA and Mimes promote world peace

and bleak, but what really drives "Off-
shore" is its unique brand of humor and
clever blend of different styles. It has
been called postmodern Kabuki the-
ater.
And don't let the name fool yo4
The word "mime" may conjure up im-
ages of white-visaged, spandex-clad
mutes who spend the better partof their
afternoons trying toescape from imagi-
nary boxes, but rest assured - the
good folks at the S.F. Mime Troupe are
like no mimes you've ever seen. They
talk. They laugh. They sing. In fact,
I'm not really sure why they are called
the San Francisco Mime Troupe. These
must be maverick mimes - the one
who played all the pranks in mime
school. Mimes with'tude. Think Marcel
Marceau after one too many Pixie
Sticks.
Now let's face it. Mimes and
NAFTA. By themselves, neither would
do very well as a prom theme, but the
San Francisco Mime Troupe manages
to fashion together a fascinating and
original look at what otherwise wou o
have been one snoozer of a topic.
And I wouldn't be a Responsible
Drama Critic if Ididn't throw in at least
one gratuitous but memorable zinger:
don't miss "Offshore." A mime is a
terrible thing to waste.
OFFSHORE plays tonight at8p.m.
at the Pioneer High School Theater.
Tickets are $12 ($9 students) and are
available at the Performance
Network. Call 663-0696.

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also appearing:
,jheFriars
Saturday, November 12, 1994
-ill Auditorium
8:00 PM

Tickets: $10, $8, $5, Students $3
Available through the Hill Auditorium Box Office
at 764-8350
Credit Card Orders: 763-TKTS

ALL, RIGHT. YOU KNOW THE SCORE.
YOU READ DAILY ARTS,
YOU CAN WRITE FOR IT TOO.
CALL 763-0379

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Large selection of used equipment 769-0342
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