Student string quartet will perform tomorrow. A group of four
will perform "Black Angels." The composer, George Crumb, is
expected to attend. Rackham Auditorium. Free admission.
February 5, 1999
Uftie £tpm &dl
Michigan Opera Works' "The Rape of Lucretia" will be
THE IZoPE Of LueRETIA
OperaWorks to present terrifying Britten opera
By Jenni Glenn
Daily Arts Writer
Following its debut performance last year,
student-run Michigan Opera Works returns
to the cultural scene with Benjamin
Btitten's "The Rape of Lucretia." Tomorrow
night's performance is already sold out.
The opera, based on Livy's account,
describes a bet between the Etruscan usurp-
er to the throne, Tarquinus, and some promi-
nent Romans about the chastity of their
said Julie De Vaere, who plays Lucretia.
With a little more than one month of
rehearsals to prepare the opera, the cast also
had to pick up the music quickly. The chal-
lenge added to the excitement of the cast
once they learned the music. "At the same
it," Rogano said.
The smaller nature of the orchestra a'u.
ally drew talent to the show. In this setup
everyone can shine in the limelight
"Because it's a chamber group, everyone is
a soloist; and everyone has a difficult part,'
Tomorrow at 8 p.m.
wives. When only one
of the wives, Lucretia,
is found to be pure,
obsessed with her, even-
tually causing both of
"Most important in
this production are the
issues of purity and
lust, ideal love and
physical love," director
David Gordon said. "We
get this juxtaposition of
base sin and a morality
of good and evil."
in the play include the
time that it's difficult;
really exciting when,
you get to the part
where you're really
Britten also used a
different structure for
this opera, that of the
smaller scale cham-
ber opera. This
allowed him to avoid
the usual crowd
pleaser numbers and
stick strictly to the
plot with the music.
"There is no big aria
with a high C for the
nature of the story
parallels the drama
of this music. The
music's tone fits
closely with the
and challenging, it's
Working together in a
smaller group helped bring
the cast together. "It's suc-
an emotional experience tc
go through as a perfo .
that it's nice to be working
with people who care sc
much about each other," De
Gordon worked the unity
into the staging, particularly
when working with the cho-
rus. Since two chorus mem-
tenor," Gordon said.
an. bers alternate between narrat-
ing the action and the charac-
ters' thoughts, theyne
with the character to signal a step intote
character's mind. "We had a sort of parallel
movement," Rogano said. "You don't feel
like an island onstage."
These techniques help- the audience to
-ouresyofDvd"Sm'i"" h' " ot"gr"" p""y
Singers reenact the "Rape of Lucretia" for the new production of the Benjamin Britten opera.
"There is no funny little song like many
Italian operas. (The music) really fits the
The directors partially chose this show
right into the front row," Gordon said.
who portrays Tarquinus.
despair of victimized Lucretia and The emotional nature of the story parallels Due to the harshness, singers find because it is a chamber opera, which fits empathize with the characters in
Tarquinus' obsession. Opposing forces the drama of the music. The music's tone fits Britten's music hard to master. The music their space constraints. An ensemble of "There's a little bit of each char
bring the characters' feelings to life for the closely with the opera's action. "With all this, uses syncopation, awkward intervals and eight forms the cast, while the orchestra of us, a little bit of the victim, a
audience. "One of my goals for this piece is all the difficulties and the harshness, the end tricky rhythms to convey the mood. "It's dif- boasts 12 members. "It's perfect for a con- the bully," Gordon said. "I want
to bring the tension and fear in this piece result is beautiful," said Guilherme Rogano, ficult music to sing on the learning level," servatory, but the big houses stay away from ence) to think about it in that lig
Ellis to explain qualifications of an American psycho at Shaman
acter in all
little bit of
Bret Easton Ellis
sary since conspiracies don't tend to aimlessly drift. Not sur-
prisingly "the plot was a surprise."
The high emphasis of pop culture, name dropping and the
ruthless pursuit of celebrity make Victor shallow. This proved
to be a problem for Ellis for he had to display the world through
the mind of someone so incapable of reflection and interesting
thoughts. But Victor isn't exactly interacting with characters
who are more altruistic than he is, it's just we don't get to hear
The shocking and trendy world of high fashion is not a real-
ity for the average person. This exclusive world becomes even
more surreal when matched with the world of terrorism. Bret
Easton Ellis' new book, "Glamorama," explores both themes
through the eyes of the all too hip Victor Ward.
As a main character Victor is interesting in part because he
is so out of touch with reality. He is trying to become famous
in a world where the only values are beauty, money and power.
His endless name dropping, obnoxious attitude and sense of
infallibility make him undeniably crass, but interesting because
he is so extreme.
The reader takes in a remarkable amount of detail from
Victor's constant observations of Cartier watches and Matsuda
sunglasses. The details may seem unnecessary at first but later
bbci.me so much a part of the narration, they blend and make
the character and plot more believable.
. Ellis' previous books, "Less Than Zero" and "American
Psycho,' were also full of detail but were less based in reality
than "Glamorama." He saw his previous novels, as "journalis-
tic." His characters were merely making observations and hav-
ing an "aimless, drifting existence." Victor Ward, however,
operates under an entirely different set of rules and the books
perspective is tainted with that.
When discussing "Glamorama, Ellis said, "this is the first
book I've written that actually has a plot." Ellis wanted to write
a narrative about conspiracy which in turn made a plot neces-
Tonight at 8 p.m.
Victor is in the world of fashion; he is
a part time model, a three time reject
from "The Real World" and the guy in
charge of the opening of a new club. He
uses everyone in his path to attain his
desires, namely becoming more famous.
His real luck is dating a supermodel who
he unfortunately cheats on with Allison
Poole. This character is from a Jay
Mclnerny book, "The Story of My Life."
Allison is now older but still living a
glamorous but sordid life in New York
City. Ellis thought Mclncrny would be
flattered at his use of McInerny's charac-
ters, but Ellis said he wasn't.
In his fashion world of glamour and
supermodels, Victor is the type of char-
surfaces so much so that truth becomes
Some of Ellis' apprehension stemmed from him having
never written a book with a plot and he was now forced to fore-
shadow events, something that he hadn't dealt with before in a
novel. Ellis wanted to set part of the novel in the fashion indus-
try because it was necessary to hide something in a novel about
conspiracy. He felt it was "easy to hide in a world of surfaces."
Ellis began writing the book in 1989, so references to
celebrities change as the novel progresses. In the beginning
there are mentions of actors on the television show, "Twin
Peaks" and by the end people are talking about Jewel. Ellis,
however, didn't feel the need to go back and change any names
because he felt they were constantly changing.
Bret Easton Ellis wrote "Glamorama" as an emotional
response to what's going on around him. The novel was also
inspired by his paranoia about being a well known writer and
his relationship with his father.
Ellis is working on a new book that he may or may not pub-
lish about his adolescence in Los Angeles and his college years
at Bennington College in Vermont. He is trying to get out all
of his "real autobiographical impulses" before he creates a fic-
tional, yet autobiographical character.
The new book may be about any number of subjects, per-
haps politics, or the pressure to settle down and have a family.
Glamorama is about, New York City, fashion, terrorism, con-
spiracies, Europe and any number of themes that Ellis cleverly
ties into his not so clever character's lives. The books plot is
surreal but only because it is about events, not just observa-
tions. Even though this may be more based in reality than
Ellis' previous books, it still is fiction.
Bret Easton Ellis will be at Shaman Drum tonight at 8 p.m.
- Caitlin Hall
acter interested in
obsolete until the novel becomes a mystery. Ellis was con-
cerned with the problem of "having a novel narrated by an air-
head." Yet, he thought it was fitting for Victors' character is a
"summation of annoying guys of my generation."
Bret Easton Ellis will read tonight atfShaman Drum.
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By Quan Williams
Daily Arts Writer
One of the most notable student
groups at the University for the last
few years has been Hip-Hop
themed Black Vibes. Headed by
Marshall Lyons and Jimmy Keys,
the group seeks to reaffirm its
foothold on the University's hip-
hop community with its first major
event of 1999, First Fridays. The
event happens tonight at the U-
Club in the Michigan Union from 7
p.m. to 1:30 a.m.
First developed by former group
president Gerald Olivari, "First
Fridays" is held on the first Friday
of every month. It consists of two
parts. First, an "open mic" section
is held at the U-Club. People
attending the event have the chance
to display such talents as poetry,
Tonight at 7:30 p.m.
dy. The atmos-
phere is laid-
back and people
are treated to a
free buffet. At
10 p.m., every-
one heads to the
the second part
of the event, a
dance party fea-
open mic night is free, while the
dance party is $3 per person.
"Many students have told me that
they are tired of Union Ballroom
parties," said Black Vibes Vice-
President Jimmy Keys. "Keeping
this in mind, Black Vibes has vowed
that this is its last Union Ballroom
party for the semester." The event
will return in March at a new loca-
The success of First Fridays has
not gone unnoticed at the
University. In 1998, Black Vibes
was recognized for First Fridays, as
well as its concerts, D.J. contests
and Saturday night radio show, with
two NAACP image awards and a
Student Active Leadership award.
When asked about the success of
Black Vibes, Keys explained, "I
believe that many organizati -
have shown a lack of creativit3
far as events are concerned. We
pride ourselves on originality, and
serving the best interests of the stu-
dents. Our music appeal to those
that enjoy good music and a good
time. That's virtually everybody."
Black Vibes plans to build on its
reputation. Its "Boogie Nights"
radio show on WCBN continues to
gain popularity, and it has a few
high-profile events planned for
remainder of the term, including s
annual D.J. contest. "(The
University will) feast quite well off
what Black Vibes has cooking for
the future," Keys said. The first
serving is tonight at the Union.
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