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March 29, 1996 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-03-29

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Ure lirbigm Owda

A weekend of song and show
Entertain yourself this weekend with performances by two different
University student musical groups. The Women's Glee Club will be
performing tonight at 8 o'clock at Hill Auditorium. Student admission is
only $4. The all-new Michigan Pops Orchestra will be kicking-off the
spring season with a concert of popular tunes at the Michigan Theater
on Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets for that event are $4 for students.

4

Friday
March 29, 1996

Comedic operas are music to our ears

By J. David Berry
For the Daily
Opera buffs boast that opera remains the one
piece of our culture that has remained pure and
untainted, hidden safe away from the mainstream
whose approval would classify the art form as
popular.
School of Music Opera Workshop director Joshua
REVIEW
Gianni Schicchi &
I1 Campanello
Lydia Mendelssohn Theater
When: Tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m.,
Sunday at 2 p.m.
Tickets: $16412 ($6 students). Call 764-0450.
Note: This ,view is for the Thursday/Saturday
cast; other actors play on Friday and Sunday.
Major promised to deliver opera into the hands of the
masses this weekend by bringing the two comedic
operas, "Il Campanello" and "Gianni Schicchi," to
the Lydia Medelssohn stage. Judging by the reaction
of Thursday night's audience, not only did he deliver
it into our hands, we were reluctant to let it go.
Gaetano Donizetti's "Il campanello di notte (The
night bell)" came first on the evening's fare. It is the
story of Don Annibale Pistachio (Allen Schrott), an
older pharmacist who marries the young and vibrant
Serafina (Rachel Gottlieb). On Don Annibale's wed-
ding night, a jealous old flame, Enrico (Guilherme

Rogano), vows to keep the newlyweds apart until
Don Annibale leaves for Rome the next morning. In
a series of disguises, Enrico rings the pharmacist's
night bell, keeping him from his new wife's bed
chamber.
The performance is filled with every gag in the
book - the majority of them revolving around sex,
particularly the aging Don Annibale's ability, or
lack thereof, to fill all of Naples with little Pista-
chios. Don Annibale's anxiousness for the long-
awaited bliss adds a terrific energy to the pace of the
show.
Coming complete with a series of prat-falls, spit-
takes and physical comedy (performed brilliantly by
Schrott and Rogano), the performance was a comic
gem. Add to this mix the tremendous vocal talents all
around - particularly Gottlieb's soaring and clear
performance as Serafina - and you have the mak-
ings of a tremendous first half of a double bill.
The silly and frivolous "II Campanello" serves as
the cartoon before the main show, as prat-falls and
sight gags give way to a much more intellectual and
engaging comedy of words. Giacomo Puccini's
"Gianni Schicchi" isamuch darker comedy, dealing
with the death of the wealthy Buoso Donati and his
money-grubbing relatives who care more about
Buoso's will than the man himself.
When the relatives discover that Buoso has left all
of his belongings to the church in penance for his
sinful life, they enlist the services of the cunning
Gianni Schicchi (William Gustafson). Schicchi mas-
querades as Buoso while the family calls the notary
and has the impostor Buoso change the will. Not
wanting to let the relatives get off scot-free, Schicchi

picks out the choicest properties for himself, so that his
daughter can have a dowry and get married.
Director Joshua Major changes gears from the physi-
cal comedy of"11 Campanello," allowing the brilliance
of Puccini's music and Giovacchino Forzano's libretto
to stand alone. With a very strong ensemble cast
playing the conniving relatives - and the exceptional
Gustafson as the artful Schicchi - Major creates a
very well-rounded production.
The horribly evil in-laws (with Ruth M. Christensen's
Zita as the quintessential spinster) provide a back drop
just black enough to heighten the white goodness of the
two token love interests. The score's most memorable
and well-known aria "O mio babino caro" was sung
effortlessly by Elisabeth M. Larsen.
To Major's credit, he allowed the designers to have
a field day with Buoso's bedroom. Vincent Mountain
turned the walls of the room into a map of Venice with
the well-known picture of Medicci hanging in the
corner. Filled with secret compartments and nooks and
crannies, Mountain's set gives the cast great opportu-
nities to ransack the place looking for the will. Sarah
Michelle Baum shines again as costume designer,
creating drastic and severe period costumes for the
loathsome family (again, with the pidce de rdsistance
being the Zita costume).
Major made good on his promise to create an engag-
ing and side splitting evening ofopera. "Il Campanello"
got us guffawing, and the darker "Gianni Schicchi"
proved the perfect counterpart to round out the evening.
The extremely capable group of singers not only
sounded terrific, but pulled off one of the more difficult
feats in entertainment today. They made opera acces-
sible to everyone.

"Glanni Schicchl" and "II Campanello" play the Mendelssohn this weekend.

'Little Indian,' big movie failure

By Neal C. Carruth
Daily Arts Writer
As if it's not bad enough that we have to watch our own
home-grown duds, Touchstone Pictures had the temerity to
import and dub this stupefying French comedy. At the least,
it is encouraging to know that Americans aren't the only ones
who know how to make a truly inept movie.
"Little Indian, Big City" concerns the life of harried broker
Stephen Marchado (Thierry Lhermitte). In order to marry his
New Age mystic fiancee Charlotte (Arielle Dombasle), he must
track down his wife, Patricia (Miou Miou), who walked out on
him 13 years earlier, and finalize their divorce. As it turns out,
she is living with an Amazon Indian tribe in Venezuela. Stephen
arrives to find out that, at the time his wife left, she was pregnant.

REVIEW
Little Indian,

r

Big Ci

ity

Theirson, Mimi-
Siku (Ludwig
Briand), grew up
entirely among the
tribe and is
encultured in their
folklore and hunt-
ing methods.
Stephen promises
to take his son to
Paris when Mimi-
Siku becomes a
man. But later that
night, Mimi-Siku

affairs. So, at the end of the picture, Stephen renounces the
corruption and self-absorption of contemporary urban life for
the "simplicity" and "innocence" of the Amazonian tribe.
"Little Indian, Big City" doesn'tjust fail because of its flaw"
ideology, but also because it is rather conventional-minded in
terms of characters and plot. We don't get characters who are
very carefully wrought. Most of them, including Stephen and
Mimi-Siku, come across as shrill and one-dimensional. In
addition, insufficient time is spent developing the emotional
ties. All of this exposes the French penchant, occasional and
dangerous, for caricature and situational farce.
On a technical level, "Little Indian, Big City" is well-filmed
with some striking and lush cinematography, particularly in the
rain forest sequences. We also get some nice photography in
Paris, which, of course, is already most photogenic.
To prepare the film for American release, it was dubbe@
largely by English-speaking actors. Dubbing is a terrible idea
to begin with, and it hurts most films immeasurably by
eliminating the subtle and universal vocal inflections in-
tended by the actors. (There are notable exceptions to.this
generality, like Ingmar Bergman's unforgettable "Cries'and
Whispers," where the original actors and actresses did the
dubbing for the English version.) In "Little Indian, Big City,"
the dubbing creates a disjunct between the highly Parisian
behavior of the characters and the loud, clear American
voices they project. Not only is this annoying, but it imping
on the quality of an already doomed film.
Since this critical element of the actors' performances is
excised, it is difficult to evaluate them; but let me assure you
that you're not missing anything of great merit. Neverthe-
less, Thierry Lhermitte's Stephen is rather appealing in his
gradual transformation from an uptight suit to a man who no
longer feels at home in the urban jungle. And the best
comedic characters are Patrick Timsit's Richard, virtually
the French stereotype of an overworked, overweight, abu-
sive company man, and Arielle Dombasle's Charlotte, with
her repetition of mantras and incessant meditation.
Bearing all this in mind, I guess it's only fair that, after yeag
of global export of movies like "Dumb and Dumber," the rest oT
the world gets an opnortunity for revenge.

Directed by Herve Palud
with Thierry Lhermitte
and Ludwig Briand
At Showcase

AC/DC played at the Palace of Auburn Hills Wednesday evening. BRIAN A. GNATT/Daiy
Wild AC/DC rocks across tees

By Brian A. Gnatt
Daily Music Editor
Despite the male-pattern baldness and
wrinkles, it's hard to tell AC/DC is an
old band. With as much energy as the
band sported when it began 22 years
ago, the greatest rock'n'roll band from
Down Under rolled
into the Palace of -
Auburn H ills
Wednesday night
for the first ofa two- F
show stint to capti-
vate Detroit's hard ;
rockers.
Supporting their 1995 release
"Ballbreaker," lead guitarist Angus
Young and Co. played one hell of a
show. AC/DC's untapped energy and
wild songbook ofclassic sex songs made
for a great two hours of traditional

greaseball rock'n'roll.
After little-known show openers The
Poor played their hearts out to a mostly
empty arena, it was time for the fun to
begin. The lights went down, and who
else but Beavis and Butt-head came on
the Palace's television screens to intro-
duce the headlin-
REVIEW ers. Huh-huh - I
said 'head.'
AC/DC Next came the
The Palace wrecking ball. A
giant crane with a
March 27, 1996 wrecking ball
swinging back and
forth knocked down the band's cement
block wall that was being used for a
backdrop. Now the fun could begin.
Breaking into "Back In Black," AC/
DC exploded onto the stage. Wearing a
maroon velvet jacket and shorts, white

shirt and obligatory tie and hat, Angus
Young ran out to his screaming fans.
The sound was great, with the guitar
licks sounding as fresh as the day they
were recorded and vocalist Brian
Johnson's hoarse-at-best screaming
sounding as good as ever.
With Angus Young, brother Malcolm
on rhythm guitar, Johnson, bassist Cliff
Williams and drummer Phil Rudd, the
band was in top form. Tackling their
classic hits "TNT," "Dirty Deeds Done
Dirt Cheap" and "Thunderstruck" with
new material thrown in, like "Cover
You In Oil" and "Ballbreaker," the con-
cert combined a varied mix of new and
old material.
Rolling around on the stage as al-
ways, Angus was clearly having a ball.
Johnson too was having his fun, getting
See AC/DC, Page 10

goes through a rite of passage and officially enters manhood.
Of course, Stephen must make good on his promise, and we
are quick to see where all of this is leading.
This conflict of cultures and values between the "sophisti-
cated, civilized" Parisians and the "barbaric, primitive" Mimi-
Siku is handled in a rather archaic manner. There is a heavy-
handed moralism in the film's denouncement of ethnocentrism.
Isn't this old territory? Haven't we all been told adnauseam that
it is bad to judge one culture using the standards of another?
And since this film emerges from a French sensibility, it's.
ultimate verdict is that what is best for mankind is a Rousseauian
"return to nature," a re-establishment of the primeval state of

whirlingRoad
Twelve Steps Below Walnut
Skillet Records
Call me old-fashioned, but I still ex-
pect quality from rock'n'roll stars -
even the aspiring ones. One could argue
that a band like Ann A'rbor's

whirlingRoad - who, with the release
oftheir first LP, are still treading through
their formative years - need not fill
their indie record with hits. One could
argue this, and one would be wrong.
Let's be blunt: If mediocrity's their
game, they should not clutter the mar-
ket with their angsty half-songs. They
should remain in their basements and
continue practicing until they can con-

sistently come up with something ex-
citing. This goes for Silverchair and it
goes for whirlingRoad as well. This is
why - with some degree of guilt about
making things hard for a local band
trying to make good - I nonetheleO
feel compelled to slag "Twelve Steps
Below Walnut" (Plus, it nerves me to
have to capitalize the ninth letter of the
See RECORDS, Page 10

best of the
university'

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