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October 11, 2000 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-10-11

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- The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 11, 2000

omes to
y Alexander Loney
or the Daily
Sherrill Milnes has been acclaimed
y critics and audiences throughout
e world as the premier baritone of
e last 30 years. He would certainly
e first on just about anyone's list of
Three Baritones." He has sung
t rtually every major opera house
1 the world and has them conquered.
ith a discography of more than 70
cordings and 70 roles in his reper-
ire, (soon to be 71 with the Count
f Westermoreland in Wolf-Ferrari's
ly to be added at Barcelona) Milnes
rolific career of 41 years is impres-
ive by any measure.
This master of the operatic stage
ucted a series of master classes
t the School of Music on Monday
nd Tuesday.
Milnes turned 65 last January and
eems to be taking maturity well. He
as been doing more teaching lately
nd recently accepted a position at
orthwestern. He has also taken on
onducting in recent years with Aida
nd Elijah. When asked about his
kter career he agrees that he can
r amore to certain roles where an
man is appropriate like Gianni
chicchi and Falstaff, but he doesn't
ssay the sheer number of roles he
as in the past. As he put it, he's
been running a little less fast."
Milnes grew up in Downers Grove,
Ilinois on a dairy farm. He studied a
ariety of instruments as a child but
nded up going to college to pursue
nedicine. After a year and a half of
*led he decided he wanted to pur-
ue music professionally and
nrolled at Drake University. He
ived voice to mouth afterward until
is first big debut as Masetto at
oston in 1960. His career centered
round the great Verdi baritone roles
or which he was universally known
.s the foremost interpreter.
The master class on Monday
shll to host
shannon O'Sullivan
)aily Arts Writer
The remote nation of Iceland and a
'irst class symphony orchestra; do these
wo phrases seem to go together? Some
nay think it is impossible for a nation
kith only 270,000 people to be able to

Reid's 'Midnight Sun' a story of soul-
searching in the Alaskan wilderness

By Nicole Dabbous
For the Daily
In Fairbanks, Alaska, the world
seems safe. Jack and his friends
chase construction jobs during the
day and leave in the evening to find
solace in a beer or a joint. They build
and expand structures and tear down
the forests. But outside of Fairbanks,

Elwood Reid
Grade: A-

man is no longer
When the sun
sets over the
Alaskan back-
drop, nature's
threat rises to
s h a d o w
mankind's illu-
sive light. In
Elwood Reid's
"Midnight Sun,"
Jack leaves the
safe haven of
Fairbanks and

And they both found that regardless
of the muscle and one's notion of
control, man is subject to failure and
to loss of control.
While still in his undergraduate
years, Reid played football for the
University of Michigan. "I was a
jock, but I loved to read," he said.
Reid knew his passion, but lacked
the determination to achieve his
desires. He went to Alaska and
worked in construction where he,
again, neglected his mind and found
control through his body. It was here
where he understood where his
actions might lead him.
One path led to the character of
Jack's friend, Burke. Consumed by
hard labor, Burke forgets that it is
not always man's role to build and
take away. He is lured by money and
hopes of gold to the mysterious com-
munity hidden from civilization. He
goes with the confidence that man is
unbreakable, that mankind is the
With him he brings Jack, who is
m.ore passive than Burke. Jack
believes that with words, rather than
strength, can one find control.
Through persuasion, not violence,
he can bring Penny back from the
community to her dying father.
Burke brings guns, Jack shares his
thoughts and together they attempt to
manipulate the untouched environ-
ment of the hidden community that

they seek.
However, as Jack, Burke, and Reid
discover through their travels in
Alaska, nature is too wild to be con-
trolled. Man is too weak when
removed from the environment he
himself creates. The heavy weight of
darkness can crush even the
strongest of men.
Although Jack survives his jour-
ney, Reid assures that "he is not sup-
posed to be the hero." He, too, is
capable of murder; control is only
present within Jack's own controlled
Initially it may seem that Reid's
"Midnight Sun" caters only to 'men.
The narrator admits in the opening
paragraph, "All that mattered was the
work, the coin and those brief
moments just after punch-out when I
walked back to my truck, bone tired
and feeling like a king for having
laid it down yet another day." Being
female, I sighed with the assumption
that this would be some macho novel
written by another macho football
player who likes to lay things down
and build things up. However, this
very disappointment makes Jack's
progression and alteration from his
journey convincing.
Elwood Reid, author of "If I Don't
Six," "What Salmon Know" and
many published articles, shows with
"Midnight Sun" that he has more
under his belt than a jock strap.

Courtesy ofSchoo of Music
Sherrill Milnes has appeared on more than 70 recordings In his 41-year career.

evening was both entertaining and
insightful, if a bit long-winded. The
format allowed each singer to per-
form their piece and then get advice
from Milnes. He would analyze their
singing and together they would work
through the song.
As a nice way to mitigate a singer's
nerves and dry throat he would give
everyone a cup of water. This was
indicative of his ability to make each
singer feel comfortable. Milnes had
said he tried to avoid being overly
negative and destroying a young
singer's fragile ego. And if there ever
was a fragile ego it would be that of a
young singer.
Gary Moss, Shaina Taelman, Brian
Buser, Loren Allardyce, Christopher
Meerdink, Kindra Scharich,
Guilherme Rogano, and Christine
Field performed for the audience.
Though Milnes had individualized
advice to offer each student, there
were certain things he stressed with
every singer.
First and foremost, he worked on
the line of the song. He tried and suc-
ceeded almost unilaterally to get the
singers to stop singing "syllabicly"
and sing on a true legato line, a thing
at which Milnes himself is particular-
ly good.
Milnes made the point that a
singer's performance starts when they
are first seen and he spent time with

almost everyone on their stage
appearance. He also turned the visual
aspect around and said, "Singing is
imagery." He applied this concept of
visualization to technique and it got
results. Though it was welcome to see
someone talk about the often ignored
visual side of opera, the source was a
bit odd since Milnes has been at times
placed in the stand-and-sing category.
Guilherme Rogano, who performed
an aria of the jealous counts from Le
Nozze di Figaro, had the most con-
vincingly acted portrayal of the
evening. Milnes made some proper
and good adjustments to it, but his
insistence on playing it down took
away some of its life.
The highlight of the evening was
Loren Allardyce's performance of an
aria from Gounod's Romeo et Juliette.
She sang with absolute conviction and
a masterful sense of the inherent
drama in the music. Milnes was
impressed enough to jest that she did-
n't need any water afterwards. Yet he
was still able to noticeably improve
her performance by working on some
specifics of diction and phrasing.
The students at Northwestern will
be lucky to have Milnes on their
music faculty. His experience and
sense for what a student is making
great strides in the musicality of the
next generation of American opera

enters on a journey into the depths of
the Alaskan wilderness, in search of
one girl, one community and him-
As the narrator, Jack, explains, in
Alaska "everybody was searching
for something." No one just goes
there. Reid himself journeyed to
Alaska after getting his undergradu-
ate degree from the University of
Like Jack, Reid too went looking.

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Hill Auditorium
October 12, 2000

produce such an
amazing orches-
tra in a small time
frame, but the
I e el a n d
S y m p h o n y
Orchestra would
prove them
wrong. As the
youngest national
orchestra in
Europe, founded
in 1950, its
remarkably high
level of artistic

The Waseda Oregon Transnational Program, Winter & Spring
2001, in Tokyo, Japan, is a comparative US-Japanese Societies
study program that mixes US-based and international students
with Japanese undergraduates at the prestigious Waseda
University. Three levels of Japanese language instruction are
offered in addition to US-Japanese Societies courses in the
humanities and social sciences. Scholarships of up to $1000 are
available! Deadline for applications is October 27, 2000. For
more information, contact:
Waseda Oregon Office
Portland State University
(800) 823-7938 www.wasedaoregon.org

bility'is amazing coming from such a
mall country.
Twice a year, the Orchestra leaves its
1ome in the Haskolabio Concert Hall in
Reykjavik to perform tours abroad.
They have previously played in the U.S.,
tamely at Carnegie Hall, where their
cerformance was described as having
oth, burnished string tone, bright,
focused winds and handsome, well-
behaved bass, an excellent balance over-
This October the Iceland Symphony
Orchestra embarks on a fifteen-city
North American Tour, including the
Kennedy Center and a return to
Carneigie Hall, also stopping at Hill
Auditorium this Thursday night. This
c ert is perhaps the most important
s for director Rico Saccani, as he is a
University alumni. Attending in 1981
and 1982, he received three Master of
Music degrees in piano, conducting, and
piano performance.
Thursday night watch out for
Icelandic violinist Judith Ingolsson.

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* - ~' *

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