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December 03, 1999 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-12-03

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topia, Limited
0 University's Gilbert and Sullivan Society perform this weekend.
The production plays at the Mendelssohn with two performances
tonight and tomorrow at 8 p.m. and two matinees tomorrow and
Sunday at 2 p.m.

1bE iaid 1&di
IRT

Monday in Daily Arts:
U Check out a review of this weekend's Carl Craig show in
Detroit.

Friday
December 3, 1999

5

H

Theater
season
e nds i
'emp est
By Christopher Tkaczyk
Daily Arts Writer
The curtain is nearly ready for one of the most
anticipated shows to be presented by University
Productions. The cast of "The Tempest," com-
posed of performers from all areas of the School
of Music, moved into the Power Center this past
-Wednesday after nearly two months of rehearsals.
Directed by Music Prof. Philip Kerr, "The
Tempest" celebrates the dawn of a new millenni-
um with a selected cast of students and faculty
from the School of Music's departments of the-
ater and drama, musical theater, vocal arts and
dance. Kerr's "Tempest" bears no limitations and
offers an abstract set design by Music Prof. Rob
Murphy, who promises a laser light show will be
implemented during the performances.
Murphy's set is fully mobile, and will come
together in pieces during each performance. This
"Tempest" will be framed by improvisation
scenes that are expected to reveal the magic of
theater while constructing the set before the audi-
ence's eyes, adding another element of magic to
Prospero's world, Kerr said.
Kerr "framed this as a fabrication of the the-

UMS kicks off
holiday season with
annual 'Messiah'

S

By Evelyn Miska
For the Daily
The University Musical Society
Choral Union will continue a 120-year-
old tradition this weekend with their
performance of Handel's "Messiah."
For many people, the performance of
the "Messiah" marks the official start
of the holiday season.
This year's performance will feature
soprano Tamara Matthews, contralto
Ewa Podles, tenor Glenn Siebert and
bass-baritone Andrew Wentzel. The
Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra will
join these highly talented soloists and
the UMS Choral Union for this week-
end's performances.
Perhaps most famous for the

Courtesy of Dna 5
Philip Kerr plays the magical Prospero while Julia Siple is the virginal Miranda in "The Tempest."

5r
The
Tempest
Power Center
Dec. 9-12
particular setting.

ater," said Dance Prof. Peter
Sparling. "It is a metaphor of
all of us (in the cast) being in
the performing arts. It's a
real tribute to our art as per-
formers."
Considered to be one of
Shakespeare's greatest fanta-
sy plays (the other being "A
Midsummer Night's
Dream"), "The Tempest" is
rife with themes of master
and servitude, art and magic,
and illusion and reality. Set
on an island, "The Tempest"
restricts the characters to one
Each must serve his or her

Miranda, and Prospero sends out his sprite Ariel
to interfere with the antics of the ship's passen-
gers. Prospero's servant, Caliban, a half-beast
half-man, finds a new master in the drunken
Stepano, and demands freedom from Prospero's
charge. Coincidentally, Prospero's brother
Gonzalo, the wrongful Duke of Naples, was also
washed ashore, and Prospero faces him for the
first time in 16 years.
At Kerr's request, Sparling choreographed a
special ballet that depicts Prospero's love for
Miranda. The allegorical dance serves as a gift
from Prospero to his daughter and her soon-to-be
husband, Sparling said.
"This illusion within an illusion was to feature
the three characters' doubles, so that a kind of
utopian vision would unfold, ushering in a golden
age for the newlyweds as well as remind them of
the nobility and grandeur of the human spirit that
is their rightful inheritance," Sparling said.
Sparling will portray Prospero in the fantasy
dance sequences, with Tim Smola and Lisa Catrett-
Belrose appearing as Ferdinand and Miranda.
"It was important for me to show Prospero's
struggle to relinquish his power and grant his
daughter a kind of freedom. The emotions speak
directly from the soul through the bodies without
needing a text or language to express them,"
Sparling said.
Kerr also enlisted the talents of Frank Pahl, a
local musician and LSA media services techni-
cian. Playing off of Shakespeare's script, Pahl's
duties included the composition of magical
sound effects, accompaniment to Ariel and the
goddesses, as well as mood music and nature
sounds.
"Frank Pahl's music functions on many levels:
It serves to underpin or highlight the musicality
of the language and its range of rhythms, innuen-
does and textures," Sparling said. "It embodies
Shakespeare's own imagery of the music of the
island, creating things partially heard, or sounds
that characters only dream of or think they hear,
i.e. the veil of illusion."
"He creates the music from inside out, work-
ing with the characters throughout the rehearsal

with the characters throughout the rehearsal,
process and within the production itself to gener-
ate the musical X-ray of the characters' moods
and emotions," Sparling said.
The hysterical ham Prof. Malcolm Tulip will
appear as Trinculo, the other half of Stephano's
(Music Prof. John Neville-Andrews) duo, adding
even more to a role that Shakespeare designed in
his typical clownish fashion. Law Prof. Beverly
Pooley, a veteran of the Ann Arbor community
theater stage, is set to appear as Gonzalo.
"Peter Hall, the British director, once said that
this play is in grave danger of being blasphemous.
Prospero takes on the role of God. On the
Elizabethan stage, this was deeply radical,"
Pooley said.
Music Prof. George Shirley, the Joseph Edgar
Maddy Distinguished University Professor of
Voice, lends his vocal talents in the opening
improv scene, as well as a portrayal of Adrian.
"There's a commentary that goes very deep
here, about life and the whole idea of human exis-
tence," Shirley said. "It's the stuff dreams are
made of, a question prevalent in the world now,
but still without an answer."
Originally scheduled to perform as one of the
goddesses, Vocal arts Prof Shirley Verrett recent-
ly backed out of the production, due to health
complications. Theater senior Dara Scitzman will
fill in for Verrett, and joined rehearsals this past
Tuesday.
The play is especially important at this point in
time, Sparling said, because it questions motives
of power and meaning. "In the upcoming millen-
nium, we're so obsessed with power. This play
could perhaps be the end of that."
"This play is a lot like Beethoven's Fifth
Symphony," Pooley said. "You end up with hope
instead of despair, and you're reminded that
there's always tomorrow"
This is the second in a series of articles about
.The Tempest." Tickets for the production are
selling quickly and can be purchased at the
League Ticket Office. Student tickets are $7 with
valid identification. Call (734) 764-0450 fbr
more information.

Handel's
Messiah
Hill Auditorium
Tomorrow at 8 p.m..
Sun. at 2 p.m.
4

Hallelujah
Chorus, Handel's
well known ora-
torio premiered
in 1742 in
Dublin, Ireland.
UMS first pre-
sented the
"Messiah" in
Ann Arbor in
1879. Those first
performances
mark the begin-
ning of the orga-
nization that
would become

the University Musical Society.
Dr. Thomas Sheets directs this year's
performance and is currently the 10th
conductor to hold the position of Music
Director of the UMS Choral Union
since its founding in 1879. Prior to
becoming music director of UMS,
Sheets spent time as associate conduc-
tor for the William Hall Chorale and the
Master Chorale of Orange County, both
in California.
Soloist and soprano Tamara
Matthews comes to visit the University
after recent engagements at Carnegie
Hall. Matthews is not only a rising star
in the music worldbut also is currently
a professor of voice at the Westminster
Choir College. Her singing talent
earned her first prize at the Musica
Sacra Bach Vocal Competition which
resulted in her debut at Carnegie Hall in

1994. In addition to performing with
UMS, Matthews has performed as
soloist for such companies as the Los
Angeles Master Chorale, the
Accademia per La Musica Antica, and
the Berkeley, Boston and Ravinia music
festivals.
Polish-born Ewa Podles takes the
part of the contralto in Handel's
"Messiah." The repertory for contraltos
tends to be much smaller than for their
more glamorous counterparts - sopra-
nos - but Podles has not let this obsta-
cle stand in the way of her success. In
addition to her Metropolitan Opera
debut in 1984, Podles has gone on to
perform at La Scala and the Staatsoper
Berlin. This will not be Podles first visit
to Ann Arbor, as she took on the chal-
lenging task of replacing Cecilia
Bartoli for a concert held at Hill
Auditorium in 1997.
This will not be the first time tenor
Glenn Siebert has performed Handel's
"Messiah" although it may indeed be his
first visit to Ann Arbor. Making his New
York Philharmonic debut in Carl Orffs
"Carmina Burana" Siebert has moved on
to perform a wide variety of other works.
With credits such as having performed
with the Hamburg Opera, the Santa Fe
Opera, the Washington Opera as well as
the Florentine Opera, Siebert ia proving
his versatility as a concert and opera
singer. Siebert also has a large repertoire
spanning from Baroque to 20th Century
literature.
Bass-baritone Andrew Wentzel
rounds off the foursome of soloists and
has a resume every bit as impressive'as
his co-performers. Having sung such
parts as Escamillo in Bizet's "Carmen"
as well as Mephistopheles in Gounod's
"Faust" since his Metropolitan Opera
debut in 1985, Wentzel's list of roles
goes on and on.
It is with little doubt that it wouldbe
necessary to have such highly talented
performers to take on a work of such
magnitude as Handel's "Messiah".
Between the UMS Choral Union, the
Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, and
these four soloists, the "Messiah" is
bound to be a moving and powerful per-
formance.

master to achieve a personal freedom, which pos-
sibly prevents another type of freedom, said the
show's dramaturge and Music doctoral student
Carrie Gabriel.
"The lines between master and servant are
blurred. Even the most loyal servant wants to
serve himself," Gabriel said. "Are we always
enslaved in some sense?"
"The Tempest" finds Prospero, rightful Duke
of Naples, exiled on a magical island with daugh-
.ter Miranda. When a passing ship encounters a
terrific storm on the high seas, Ferdinand and his
shipmates are tossed ashore, where they
encounter Prospero's world of beastly creatures
and enchanted sprites. Ferdinand finds love in

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