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March 15, 1995 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-03-15

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 15, 1995

Traditional 'Cosi Fan Tutte' is no museum piece

By Melssa Rose Bernardo
Daily Theater Editor
When guest director Linda
Brovsky first met with the design
team of "Cosi Fan Tutte," she gave
them quite a surprise. "I told them
this was the all Barbie-and-Ken pro-
duction, and the actors all started
out in black-and-white swimsuits
and ponytails," she said matter-of-
factly. "They all leaned forward and
said" - Brovsky becomes very se-
rious - "'Really.'" She bursts out
"I'm kidding, I'm kidding,'I said,
'we're doing it in period.'"
Updating an opera has become
something of a joke to many critics
and aficionados, especially within a
w production company like the
University's, which is notorious for
putting radical twists on classic op-
eras (most recently, "The Magic
Flute," "The Barber of Seville"). But
- when the School of Music's Opera
Theatre presents "Cosi fan tutte" this
weekend, their approach will be "very
traditional," according to Brovsky.
- "Usually 'Cosi' is done in the
1760s, with big powdered wigs (and
such), and that seemed a little artifi-
cial for the intimacy of Mendelssohn
(Theatre)," she said.

Brovsky has set the opera in 1790,
about the year it was written. She
maintained, however, that it is still a
little untraditional. "It's probably not
traditional in the sense of the way the
moments are realized," she said. "The
direction itself is not the way it's
usually staged."
Brovsky outlined the reasoning
behind her approach, which spans
from the score to the plot to the set.
"The music is definitely of(a spe-
cific period) - it's gorgeous, but it
doesn't say 1920s.
"And there's a lot about the sensi-
bilities of these (characters) that works
in the period it was written for -
where a kiss was a major, major thing
in a relationship. If you update it too
late, it loses the impact," she ex-
She also pointed to the educa-
tional benefit of performing an opera
"traditionally," especially in a Uni-
versity setting where the production
is an integral part of the performer's
"It's part of the singer's training.
How do you (the performer) sit and
stand and walk in the gowns, coats,
breeches of a period -a period you're
going to be working in a lot if you're
going to have a career in opera?"

According to Brovsky, the perform-
ers are living up admirably to the
fashion challenges of the period,
though "the corsets are a major prob-
The decision to do "Cosi" in pe-
riod went in tandem with the decision
to sing it in its original Italian. "The
faculty decided the singers should get
a chance to experience opera in its
original language," Brovsky said. "It

question "why update," as opposed to
"why not"?
"If you can take the topography of
the piece and move it to another time
period and things correspond, and it
gives you an opportunity to say some-
thing you wouldn't necessarily be able
to say in its original time period, then
the updating is legitimate. But just to
update it because you want it in a new
period ..." Brovsky shakes her head
"There's no reason why my voice
couldn't be heard in 'Cosi' in 1790,"
she said. "What I had to say with the
piece had nothing to do with the shape
of the women's dresses."
Brovsky's "voice" speaks of the
exploration of the human heart, an
integral concept in this rollicking boy-
girl, boy-girl, let's-test-our-sweet-
hearts romance.
"If the piece is about anything, it's
about becoming aware of your own
emotions, and becoming aware that
there are many sides to life and to
love," she said. "And what human
nature is capable of doing out of greed,
pride, arrogance, insecurity."
And has human nature changed
much from Mozart's time to ours?
Perhaps only a traditional 'Cosi' can
say for sure.


was an opportunity to try to commu-
nicate through a language that was
not their first language."
Some may accuse Brovsky of not
being adventurous in her directorial
choices. But in considering "to up-
date or not to update," is not the
Continued from page 5
She's the angel from a nursery rhyme"
shine within the confines of his ar-
rangements. He misses occasionally,
as on "Autobiography of a Pistol,"
but easily makes up for it with the
stirring "Don't Breathe" and "Here
She Is."
- Dirk Schulze
Art Porter
Polygram Records
Art Porter is a musically gifted,
saxophone-playing prince of jazz.
And, in "Undercover," he doesn'tseek
to do any crazy stuff. Rather, he sim-
ply presents us with an 11-cut treat of
peaceful, relaxing jazz flava. Porter's
dual use of both the alto sax and the
soprano sax (arguably the best-sound-
ing woodwind instrument there is) is
an added plus to an already outstand-
ing body of work.
Songs like "Forever Yours" and
"October Rain" will mellow you
out and lull you into a sphere of
quiet tranquillity that college stu-
dents rarely enjoy. No singing, no
rapping -nothing but a sea of bliss-
ful notes pouring forth from the har-
mony of Art Porter's sax with the
sounds of the guitar, the synthesizer
and the drums, wielded by musi-
cians of equal caliber.

Scaramouchel scaramouchel Can you do the fandango?

Three "Undercover" songs do
feature singing, however. Maxan
Lewis and Marva King strut their
vocal strengths in "Forever Yours"
and "Before We Say Goodbye," and
Brigett Bryant performs in "Phases
of the Heart." Don't fear. Their sing-
ing will not take away from the
smooth, musical fluidity that the
voiceless songs sport. In fact, the
melody which flows from these sing-
ers' lips adds to the smoothness of
the LP.
Art Porter has brought forth a
musical odyssey - an adventure
through the realm of pure musical
pleasure. Buy "Undercover" and
come aboard. You won't ever want
to return.
- Eugene Bowen
Urban Dance Squad
Persona Non Grata
Having lost DJ DNA, the Dutch
boys of Urban Dance Squad fail to
make much of a splash with their
third record, "Persona Non Grata."
Instead of a blend of styles, they
offer mostly hard-rock backdrops
for Rudeboy's raps. Gone is the
overwhelming diversity of their
first two damn fine efforts, along
with most of their charm. It ain't
wack, just not particularly inter-
- Dirk Schulze

The Boys Choir of
The Sound of Hope
EastWest Records
Originally founded in Harlem by
Walter J. Turnball in 1968, The Boys
Choir of Harlem has grown into one
of the most critically acclaimed and
celebrated repertoire groups in the
However, for all their concerts,
appearances and contributions to
soundtracks such as "Malcolm X,"
"Jungle Fever," and "Glory," the boys
and young men of The Boys Choir of
Harlem have never released a con-
temporary album.
Until now, that is.
"The Sound of Hope," the group's
delve into the world of big-time con-
temporary music, is a grade-A contri-
bution the realms of gospel, pop and
The music of The Boys Choir of
Harlem will take you on a musical
journey matched by few releases of
the past. Among the 16 cuts of "The
Sound of Hope" to choose from are
the powerfully Afrocentric song,
"Bayethe Mandela," the well known
Black hymn, "Amazing Grace" and
the beautiful, just-in-time-for-the-
holidays sounds of "This Christmas."
Other noteworthy songs include "He-
roes," "Children of the World," and
"Hold On."

Lincoln Center jazz do it for Satchmo
The Uncoln Center Jazz Orchestra Is an al-star touring ensemble with the
dedication to "swing as hard as possible," In the words of its artistic director,
Wynton Marsals. Their stop at Hill Auditorium tonight at 8 p.m. will feature some
of the biggest names in jazz.
This Includes trumpeter and music director Jon Faddis, pianist Marcus Roberts,
20yer-old trumpeter Nicholas Payton and saxophonist, Wess Anderson. It is
appropriate that many of these musicians have their musical roots in New Orleans,
for the tour takes as Its theme, "The Majesty of Louis Armstrong."
The LCJO will recognize Armstrong's mark as a singer, bandleader, and composer
as well. "Satchmo" was also the first black American to appear regularly on the
silver screen, making over 40 flms In his lifetime. The ensemble will feature this
element with historic film clips in addition to some "hot" New Orleans jazz. Tickets
are $14- $28, with student rush seats at $9. Call 764-2538.
* For a Twist try Colombo non-fat I
yogurt on a
R ®Belgium waffle!
715 N. University 761-CHIP
Mon-Thurs 8:30am-8pm
Fri 8:30am-5:30pm Sat 10am - 5:30pm
We ship anywhere in the Continental U. S.
h m m inM MMm il MM

"The Sound of Hope" rises as a
pinnacle of the 25 year history of hard
work, determination and pride that
characterizes The Boys Choir of
- Eugene Bowe
Danny Carnahan and
Robin Petrie
Cut and Run
Red House
Thank the folks at Red House
Records for making "Cut and Run"
available in the States after an initial
release only in Britain. The album, by
the American duo Danny Carnaha
and Robin Petrie, is a crowning mix
of acoustic and electric instrumenta-
tion, sharp songwriting and brilliant
harmonies. Richard Thompson kicks
in characteristically spellbinding gui-
tar to three tracks, fitting as several of
the songs on the record sound like lost
tracks from mid-period Richard and
Linda Thompson. Danny's own
guitarwork is solid and his turns oe
the octave mandolin are even better
while Robin's hammered dulcimer
lends a wonderful, Celtic feel to "'Till
the Stars Come Down."
It does not seem to matter what
approach Danny and Robin take on
"Cut and Run" as the uptempo num-
bers, the ballads and the instrumental
breaks are all of an equal, exceptioial
quality. Whether or not folk-rdc
makes the comeback that some pre-
dict, this album will still turn more
than a few heads. Thanks again, Red
- Dirk Schulze
The Legion
Theme + Echo = Krill
One Love Records
I don't know what Mercury
Records was thinking when it signeA
Legion to produce "Theme + Echo =
Krill," but an extensive psychiatric
exam is highly recommended. The
members of The Legion, Cee-Low,
Molecules and Chucky Smash, are
three of the most no-rap-ability-hav-
ing brothas I've heard in awhile. These
guys know nothing about lyrics, beats,
scratches, mixes or any of the other
skills inherent in rapping. What's4
worse, these guys have the audacity
to release 20 cuts - that's 20 rap
equivalents of rotten-egg turds.
The Legion tries to look hard, but
this debut release is as weak as a
newborn. I just can't put into words
just how pathetic a CD "Theme +
Echo = Krill" is. If you wantto show
someone how much you really hate
'em, just buy them this CD.
- Eugene Bowen
Scott Hamilton
Organic Duke
Concord Records
The tenor sax-organ duo is one
that is steeped in history and tradi-
tion. Unfortunately, this classic com-
bination has been left by the wayside
in recent years, which makes Scott*
Hamilton's "Organic Duke" a wel-
come album for jazz enthusiasts.
This album is not notable only
for its unique instrumentation.
Hamilton's thick, rich tenor tone
wonderfullv cnmniment the cs-

Here's Urban "We ain't wack, Dirk Schulze says so" Dance Squad, exhibiting their non-wack qualities.

fun...excitement... entertainment

The parry

before the party....


Our catalog of summer classes is ready to-
be mailed to you. The catalog gives you a
complete listing of our course offerings,
special workshops, and travel programs.
There are lots of exciting things Foin

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