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October 05, 1999 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-10-05

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'90s Folk f -W1- gaud' Tomorrow in Daily Arts:
* Folk musician Martin Sexton brings his sound to the Ark. Check out an interview with screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin,
Catch some raw '90s folk power in this intimate set. 8 p.m. whose credits include "Ghost" and "Jacob's Ladder."
2 Tuesday
October 5, 1999

Rossini's
'Barber'
comes to
Detroit
ByCbistopher Taczyk
Daily Arts Writer
La la la LA LA LA la la la LA LA LA
... Figaro...FEE-garo...FEE-GAR-OH!
Michigan Opera Theater's new pro-
duction of the hilarious Gioacchino
Rossini opera "The Barber of Seville" is
a surefire hit. A sensational ensemble of
lead actors is sure to make Detroit Opera
House audiences depart into the night
with the famous
tune running
through their
heads.
The Barber "The Barber of
of Seville Seville," the
grandfather of all
Detroit opera buffa, fea-
Opera House tures a classic boy
Oct. 2, 1999 meets girl story
gone awry but
patched un by the
heroic clown, a
role fulfilled by
Figaro, the barber
himself. It is
1600's Seville when the famous overture's
first chords charge from the pit, and lover-
boy Count Almaviva has set newfound
sights on the lovely and delicate Rosina, a
ward to the brutish but affable Doctor
Bartolo, who intends to wed her himself.
It is with Figaro's willing aid (and affinity
for gold coins) that Almaviva sets out to
pursue the impoverished maiden, locked
up within Bartolo's villa.
Yes, it is a story of romantic buffoon-
ery unfolded completely with stock
characters, but the political undertones
remind us that life hasn't always been as
"correct" as we imagine it to be today.
And if the story isn't entertaining
enough, Rossini's famous score is sure to
please the ears of enthusiasts and opera
amateurs alike.
"Barber" is rife with famous numbers,
and the MOT cast delivers each with
polished energy. Figaro's classic aria,
Largo al factotum della citti, seemed a
toy for Earle Patriarco, who enjoyed
playing with it as if it were an old rag
doll. He tossed the notes around with

'U' honors Goethe's poetry
with lecture and screening

Courtesyb ofcM hg
Earle Patriarco, Vivica Genaux and Bruce Fowler sing about the barber.

ease and gave an excellent turn as the
barber, a role seemingly fit for the young
singer.
But opening night was stolen by
Donato Di Stefano as Dr. Bartolo. Di
Stefano, in his U.S. opera debut, digni-
fied his villain with a warm heart and
comical antics. His nuances of character
were almost vaudevillian in nature, but
captured the essence of the piece and
provided operagoers with delightful
entertainment. He is Dr. Bartolo, down
to the very essence of the character.
Less successful was Vivica Genaux as
Rosina, who's aim at the classic Una voce
poco fa missed its mark. Genaux is a gift-
ed singer, no doubt, and handled all her
notes well, but didn't deliver a stunning
take. Whether or not she is capable of
providing a full-voiced Rosina is a ques-
tion to be considered, for the omission of
a lengthy note remained an undaunting
disappointment. But the role is somewhat
tricky and covers a wide range in a short
span and Genaux was able to rush
through without erring too profusely.
The loud voiced bass Michele
Bianchini demanded attention as Don
Basilio, friend to Bartolo and music
teacher to Rosina. His moments onstage
were skillful and commanding and com-
pleted the dark duo of himself and
Bartolo.
The staging by director Dorothy
Danner of this classic story is a breath of
fresh air for the company, whose most
recent staging of the opera in 1993 fea-
tured talented singers, but lacked the
energy needed to bring in barrels of
chuckles. A proper performance of "The
Barber of Seville" leaves audiences with

flushed cheeks and warm smiles, as wit-
nessed at Saturday's performance. The
opera's early 19th Century humor is as
energizing today asuit was at its 1816 pre-
miere in Rome,
John Stoddart's set, a simple but grand
design of the Bartolo villa is set on a
rotating spindle. The action of the opera
unfolds between rotations, and the high-
ly effective transition scene near the end
of Act Two is a perfect handling of the
sometimes clunky plot sequence. While
Figaro and Almaviva are climbing a lad-
der to Rosina's bedroom window, Dr.
Bartolo's schemings are also shown as
the revolving set features a glimpse at
both the inside and outside of the estate.
Todd Hensley' s detailed lighting places
the scene into an electrical storm, an oth-
erwise tricky effect to pull off. Danner's
staging is brilliant here, and gives each
of the characters something to do, rather
than stand and sing.
The company's rousing attack, when
the military is called in to control an out-
break of argument in the Bartolo home,
is deft and graceful, otherwise normally
cluttering the stage with useless extra
voices. Here, Danner invokes a wonder-
fully choreographed staging reminiscent
of a military march, capped off with dra-
matic lighting, proving again that she has
pumped more pulse into an already pres-
surized show.
Opera fans are sure to find this
"Barber" an excellent addition to the fall
opera schedule and shouldn't be over-
looked. "The Barber of Seville" is also a
great opera for those waiting to break
their virginal operatic seal, even if only to
sing along to "Figaro! Figaro! FI-garo!"

By jean Lee
For the Daily
The sun sets slowly in the horizon, folding into intricate
orange layers. Welcoming the close of day, the blue waters
dance along in quiet harmony. Nature exudes its brilliance in
full color as the human eye feasts on its beauty.
This is not only a student's daydream while studying in the
stacks of the Rackham Graduate Library on a rainy night, but
a scene from the video "The Light, the Dark, and the Colors"
which will be shown today, starting a series of events com-
memoratng the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's
250th anniversary.
The University's Institute for the
Humanities, in collaboration with the
Goethe-Institut of Ann Arbor, the
Goethe'S Department of Germanic Languages
Color and the Film and Video Studies
Theory Program, will be holding a brown bag
lecture and video screening today
1524 Rackham exploring Goethe's Theories of Color.
Today at tnoon "Goethe was the greatest German
writer and poet, who also pursued all the
natural sciences," said German
Department graduate student instructor
John Minderhout, who will be facilitat-
ing the discussion of the film and
demonstrating experiments through
prisms. "I'm not a scientist,"he said when asked about the cred-
ibility of Goethe's theories on color, "But for me, he's great."
"For Goethe, the human being is always the starting point'
said Minderhout, mentioning how Goethe insisted on the
importance of experiencing natural phenomena through the
human eye.
Although much of his scientific work has been denounced
and ignored by natural scientists since his time, Goethe con-
sidered his 3-volume "Theory of Colors" to be his most impor-

tant work. He spent 42 years vigorously conducting experi-
ments and researching new ways of looking at color, hoping to
be remembered as a scientist.
"It is a new-age phenomenon," Minderhout said of the
recent growing interest in Goethe's work. He added that miy
artists of the 20th Century, such as Paul Klee and Was
Kandinsky, have been influenced by Goethe's color theory.
Along with today's video screening, the Institute for the
Humanities will also be holding an exhibition through the end
of the month, displaying tables and artwork representing
Goethe's theories on color, as well as reactions of other artists
to his work. Some of the many features of the exhibit are "The
Optical Card Game" and "The Color Circle" explaining color
through direct human perception.
Other events celebrating Goethe's 250th anniversary include
film screenings at the Michigan Theater throughout
month, as well as a Residential College performance f
Goethe's play, "Urfaust" in November.
"Goethe is not very well known in the United States," said
Uwe Rieken, director of the Goethe-Institut of Ann Arbor. "I
think he has made many important contributions as a writer
and a scientist," he said, adding that he hopes to make this
anniversary an opportunity to promote Goethe's work on the
University campus.
As Goethe worked to cross the boundaries between art and
science, the Institute for the Humanities is also looking ahead
to a year of crossing boundaries between academic disciplines.
Mary Price, the assistant director of the institute mentio
that the Goethe video screening and exhibit would be one of
the events to start off the first year of not having a specific
theme for the Brown Bag and Art and Exhibition Programs.
"There is a move to cross those disciplinary boundaries" she
said, adding that it is the Institute's goal to form new interdis-
ciplinary relationships and bring the arts into everyday life as
much as possible by creating a free arena that allows various
themes to merge.

DSO performs 'BabiYar' at Hill.

By Rosemary Metz
For she Daly
The somber hues of the autumn skies
matched the solemn music and poetry of
the Symphony
No. 13, Opus 113,
the "Babi Yar"
collaboration of
Detroit D i m i t r i
SymphOny Shostakovich and
Orchestra Y e v g e n y
Hill Auditorium Yevtushenko.The
Oct. 3, 1999 journey of the full
Detroit Symphony
Orchestra to Ann
Arbor took on the
holiness of a pil-
grimage as this
work was per-
formed here.
The majesty of the music coupled
with the sometimes graphic, but always
powerful, poetry delivered an unforget-
table and rare impact on the audience. A
hush filled the space as the music filled
the rafters, as the voices of the male cho-
rus sang out the poetic passages. This

poetry, so full of the pain of loss, the
ache of destroyed dreams, resonated
throughout the choral works, a spell-
binding experience. From the opening,
thunderous movement, to the final, deli-
cate cymbal's chimes, rendered a time-
lessness to the work.
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra,
under the direction of Neeme Jarvi, gave
presence and color to this work, which
emerged in 1961 asa choral work. "Babi
Yar" was the centerpiece for this con-
cert,which featured the solo perfor-
mance of Sergei Leifekus.This soloist
captured the spirit of the music, the soul
of the poetry.
The history of this work involves the
work of Yevtushenko, who tested the
waters of de-Stalinization in the early
'60s with this fierce indictment of both
Nazi atrocities in WWII and the contin-
uing anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union.
Even before he had the poet's permis-
sion, Shostakovich was so energized by
the music, he set the poetry to music.
Babi Yar is the location, near Kiev, for
the murder and burial of 33,000 Jews

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were murdered by Nazis in 1941.The
poem, "Babi Yar," recalls this event bit-
terly, conjuring up the memories ofAnne
Frank.
Shostakovich's music, the soloist and
the combined male choirs created a
mood of melancholy and sadness in the
Russian musical motif. Yevtoshenko's
use of satire in the poem, "Humours
effective in lambasting the Soviet gov-
ernment."Fears" is the most subversive,
banishing fear forever from the Soviet
Union. "A Career" is a study of confor-
mity's dangers, the most cynical poem of
the group.
The pace of the concert was swift, the
first half completed in 30 minutes.
"Nordic Coast," by Villem Kapp, and
The Holberg SuiteOp. 40, by Edv
Grieg, offered a sprightly prelude for
afternoon's darker presentation.
The orchestra and choruses were
obviously well-rehearsed, they worked
with finely chiseled precision. The uni-
fying element of the misty, cold autumn
day enhanced the music and choral pre-
sentation.
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UM School of Music Dept. of Theatre & Drama

scape fro
a quirky comedy by fronesc
escaet hap pine55
George F. Walker a p
One family's BIZARRE struggle
to hold on for dear life.
this play contains adult language and themes
October 7 - 9, 14 - 16 at 8pm
October 10 & 17 at 2pm
Trueblood Theatre
Tickets are $14 " Students $7 with ID
League Ticket Office 734-764-0450

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