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March 30, 1999 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-03-30

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U Music prof. Erik Fredericksen will present a dramatic rendering
of a "Boffin's Journey." Head of the department of theater and
drama, Fredericksen is scheduled to perform the writing of local
writer Bea Nergaard. Shaman Drum. 8 p.m. Free

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Tomorrow in Daily Arts:
Daily Arts will present two reviews of Wednesday-openers
"10 Things I Hate About You" and "The Matrix."
March 30, 1999



*Marta Domingo takes center stage

I -I

The Washington Post
WASHINGTON - In most opera companies,
an executive who hired his own wife to direct pro-
ductions might raise eyebrows. Clearly Placido and
Marta Domingo are exceptions. Instead of criti-
cism they've won applause.
if her husband's three seasons as artistic director
f the Washington Opera haven't always reached
the extraordinary heights expected of them, his
wife's work, at least, has consistently intrigued. Her
productions of Verdi's "La Traviata" in 1997,
-Puccini's "La Rondine" last year and Ermanno
,Wolf-Ferrari's "Sly," which received its North
American premiere March 10, rank for many
among the highlights of the couple's tenure at the
Washington Opera.
. Her staging of "La Rondine" in particular, first
*nveiled in Bonn in 1995, won praise for breathing
new life and beauty into a Puccini work long dis-
-missed as second-rate. The Washington version
was recorded for future telecast and the production
itself is already headed for Los Angeles.
-All of which is gratifying to the former Marta
Ornelas. Even though she never set out to be an
opera director, the 60-ish soprano-turned-mega-
tenor's wife has in a sense been preparing for the
role all her life.
"You see, this is not for me a career' she says
:-when cornered one 12-hour day between costume
ittings and rehearsals for "Sly." "Why do I need a
career? I have everything I want. This I do just for
the joy of the art. But I try to approach the work
Tiger s
to video
By Matthew Barrett
Daily Arts Writer
He's won the Masters; he's cap-
tured the hearts of America; and now
he has a movie about his life. He is
#iger Woods. The golf prodigy's life is
examined in "The Tiger Woods Story,"
a recently released video which fol-
lows the star from the conception of
his name to the aforementioned tour-
nament victory. The narrative is told
via a series of flashbacks that occur as

seriously, as a professional, because the opera
world won't accept you as an amateur."
Even if you're Placido Domingo's wife?
"Even then."
Though she has directed one opera every year
somewhere in the world since 1991, she doesn't.
fool herself into thinking her husband's status as an
opera superstar can be divorced from the invita-
tions she gets to direct. But what she almost never
volunteers, but her husband usually does, is the
degree to which she has been the architect of his
long and astonishingly productive career.
As different as they are - he tall, handsome and
easygoing, she small, fierce and opinionated, peering
owlishly from behind oversize glasses - they may
be professionally the perfect complementary couple.
According to her husband, she was far more
sophisticated than he and a much more serious stu-
dent when he met her in the '50s at the
Conservatory of Mexico, where she was a teenag-
er studying voice.
Born to a artistic family in Veracruz, she had
begun studying piano and composition at the age
of eight. She concentrated on Mozart and eventu-
ally joined the Opera Belles Artes in Mexico City.
When Placido joined the company in 1961 at the
age of 20 she was already established: Mexican
critics that year named her the country's best singer
of Mozart for her performance as Susanna in "Le
Nozze di Figaro."
Initially, she refused to even consider him as a
suitor. They married in 1962, however, after a 13-

month courtship and soon departed for Tel Aviv
and a three-year apprenticeship with the Opera
Company of Israel, where they sang an average of
10 performances a month.
In late 1965 they arrived in the United States,
where Placido had his first big triumph in New
York. From there his career accelerated sharply.
Marta, already pregnant with the first of their two
children, willingly stepped off the stage to raise
their family.
"We were so busy and it was so exciting with
Placido's success, I never thought it was any sacri-
fice," she said.
"I had my place."
In his book "My First Forty Years,"he credits her
with helping him develop the techniques for
breathing and voice projection that have been cru-
cial to his success.
In succeeding years, she says, though she initial-
ly stayed somewhat in the background, "we trav-
eled all over the world and I saw thousands of pro-
ductions, working with Placido and the very best
designers and stage
directors" as both his unofficial voice coach and
his most observant and conscientious critic.
She has been known to whirl backstage during
intermission, clear his dressing room of visitors
and put him through vocal exercises to correct
first-act imperfections only she can hear. She also
runs interference for him among the throngs of
predatory impresarios and agents that stalk him all
over the world.

As Aman Pedersen, vice president of Deutsche
Grammophon records, once said, "Placido only lis-
tens to Marta, and so everyone else has to listen to
her, too."
She started directing seven years ago almost by
accident. The Domingos' friend Guillermo
Martinez, who heads Puerto Rico's Teatro de la
Opera, asked her to fly to Houston as a favor and
appraise a Houston Opera
production of Camille Saint-Saens' "Samson et
Delila." When she returned with positive reports,
he informed both Domingos he would mount the
show in San Juan if he could find the right director.
"And Placido says to me, 'Why don't you stage
it?' And I say, 'You are joking!' But he says, 'No,
really. I think
you should do it.' He is very enthusiastic for me
about this. So I decide to do it."
Her efforts were successful enough that she was
invited to direct "Tosca" the following year in
Seville, "Rigoletto" in 1993 in Los Angeles, where
her husband was artistic consultant, and "The
Barber of Seville" in Puerto Rico in 1994.
Not all her productions were cheered (Opera
News shrugged off her "Rigoletto" staging as "rou-
tine") and skeptics could wonder how many opea
impresarios, wild to attract her husband to their
stages, might be inviting her more as bait for
Placido than for her talents alone.
Domingo throws herself into research before a
production, she says. "I have books to the ceiling.
And by the time I finish reading and studying I can

Courtesy o fTeWashington Post
Marta Domingo has gained fame as a director.
see it all in my head. I cannot explain it so well,
sometimes, but I see everything - the costumes,
the sets, everything."
"Sly" production designer Michael Scott, who
also worked with her on "Rondine," "gives me
wonderful ideas about how to bring to life what I
see ... and it gets better. But I promise you I can see
it all in my head from the start."
Angela Butler, a "Sly" chorus member working
in her third Marta Domingo production, said that
unlike many directors who feel their way tentative-
ly through the action in early rehearsals, Domingo
"knows exactly what she wants from the first day,
which makes everything much simpler."

Rugrats' get lost while vacationing

By Matthew Barrett
Daily Arts Writer
Hungry? Then saddle up to a
nice, big, juicy plate of "Home
Fries." Hearty, wholesome and
good for you - this comedy stars
Drew Barrymore and Luke Wilson
("Oh are you?") as two people who
can't keep their eyes off each
other. Drew is pregnant, Luke was
in "Bottle Rocket" and University
alum Lawrence Kasdan produced
it, so truth be told, it's got to be
some good eating. Yum.
Dressed for success in diapers
and t-shirts, the rats of the rug rip
up the screen in "The Rugrats
Movie." Here the daring tykes get
lost while on vacation and are
forced to wonder whether or not

they'll ever see the second grade.
For seniors preparing to graduate
or, for that matter, anyone who
wants to re-capture a little slice of
their vanishing youth, this is the
motion picture event of the year for
It's not just a
mountain, it's a
movie. Making
its way to home
Video This video today is
Week "Everest," a
which follows
people climbing Mt. Everest.
Courtesy of the folks at IMAX, the
wrap-around moviemakers, this
movie is sure to please mountain
climbers and novices alike.

Courtesy of NIckelodeon Movies
The Rugrats welcome a new 'rat.

Tiger is winning

the 1997 Masters.
Unlike Tiger's


Tiger Woods talks to his new caddy, Steve Williams, on March 21.

golf swing, this
movie is far from
perfection. The
The Tiger cast is a major
Woods Story divot and
* includes a variety
of unknowns
Direct to video alongside Keith
David ("There's
Something About
r I Mary") as Earl
Woods, Tiger's
For the most
part the movie's story isn't very inter-
esting and offers little information
,abut Tiger that the average sports fan
wouldn't already know. The golfer's
relationship with his father has been
well documented in the media, so see-

ing the two butt heads for the sake of
growing moments really doesn't
accomplish much. Tiger's mother is
nothing more than a passive observer
who ends up occasionally scolding
Earl and a supporting her son. Things
also get a little preachy at the times
when Tiger deals with racial hatred,
simply because the writing and acting
is incapable of getting the point across
in a serious way.
The overall appearance of the
movie is very cheap, scenes of Earl's
wartime experience look as if they
were shot in the producer's backyard
and the golf scenes are a joke. These
either consist of shots of the ball drop-
ping in the hole or of someone swing-
ing followed by a shot of the ball in the
air. With so much golfing action,

director LeVar Burton should have
taken advantage of the opportunity to
include beautiful shots of the swing
and flight of the ball. Also, the movie
would seem much more realistic if we
thought that there was any chance that
the person swinging the club was also
the one hitting the ball.
The best thing about "The Tiger
Woods Story" is the fact that it's a rare
movie about a modern day athlete.
That the makers tackled the job of try-
ing to make a movie about a popular
character who lives in the public eye is
commendable, but the final product is
not. In the end, Tiger Woods the person
is much more interesting than the
movie about his life, which comes off
as little more than a cheap attempt to
cash in on his popularity.

_ n


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