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May 29, 2007 - Image 10

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2007-05-29

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10

Tuesday, May 29, 2007
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Teacher and student share the stage
University duo featured in operatic take of Shakespearean classic in Detroit

By MAUREEN SULLIVAN
DailyArts Writer
Associate music professor, Ste-
phen Lusmann, began his career as
an opera singer in ayoung artist pro-
gram in Cincinnati. He played the
role of Gregario,
a Capulet servant Gounod's
in the Gounod's Gloriously
famed French T
operatic tribute ragic Romeo
to William Shake- & Juliet
speare's "Romeo June 2-9 2007
and Juliet." Later
in his career, Lus- $28-$120
mann sang the
role of Mercutio, Detroit Opera
traveling through House
Europe, enacting epic battle scenes
paired with his character's vio-
lent passion. The esteemed profes-
sor will perform his third operatic
Shakespearean role - Lord Capulet
in the Michigan Opera Theatre's
production of "Romeo and Juliet."
Performing the opera with Lus-
mann is recently graduated student,
Brandon Snook, as Benvolio, a cous-
in and friend to Romeo.

Upon Snook's return to the Seagle
Music Colony - a highly selective,
six-week summer program for stu-
dents from around the world where
Snook began studying under Lus-
mann - in 2005, he knew that he
wouldbe attendingthe University to
complete his masters degree invoice,
studying again under Lusmann.
Lusmann, as Snook's teacher takes
pride in observing Snook's promising
career take off post-graduation.
"It's wonderful working with
Brandon and I can see how he
works as a professional. He brings
to rehearsal all of the craft he has
learned and so far I've seen him sing
beautifully," Lusmann said. "It's
a lot of fun teaching a student and
then seeingthem perform."
Snook enjoys performing with
Lusmann and observing their
teacher-student relationship evolve
as they work together on the pro-
duction.
"We have a good professional
and personal relationship, soit's fas-
cinating to watch him take direction
from someone else," Snook said.
Lusmann performs about two or

three operas a year while regularly
singing in oratorios or concerts. He
believes that as a professor active in
the opera community he gains the
respect of his students as a classical-
ly trained singer. At the same time,
teaching is his first priority.
Both performers, although at
completely different stages in their
careers have many of the same con-
cerns about their performances.
Such a classic story requires abso-
lute attention to detail and under-
standing of the story, character
intention and the French language.
The beautiful yet tragic story
features four love duets. Although
very close to Shakespeare's original,
the opera, first performed in Paris
in 1867, deviates slightly in order
to condense the story and make it
more conducive to the opera format.
Director Bernard Uzan stays true
to the original Gounod tradition
in terms of time, place and content
while making a few cuts in order to
shorten the piece.
He encourages his multi-cul-
tural cast to focus on the relation-
ships between their characters. The

play is led by Dina Kuznetsova and
Evelyn Pollock, who perform alter-
nately as Juliet alongside Jonathan
Boyd and Arturo Chacdn-Cruz who
perform the role of Romeo on sepa-
rate nights.
The fight scenes are actually cho-
reographed by University Alum and
accomplished martial artist, fencer,
stunt performer and choreographer
Christopher Barbeau, who has been
staging every Michigan Opera The-
atre production since 2001.
Just like how Lusmann began his
career as a supporting member of
Romeo and Juliet, Snook embarks
on a career he hopes will be suc-
cessful and eventually lead to work
in New York City.
Snook's passion for his craft is
evident, and the intricacy of singing
opera, though challenging, inspires
him: "I am a better singer and per-
former when I sing classically.
Opera requires you to be classically
trained. Being able to act and sing
simultaneously is something I enjoy
very much. Something about classi-
cal music really touches me in a way
that nothing else does."

Nature never
looked so good
By ELIE ZWIEBEL
ManagingArts Editor
Nature's various vagaries
are innumerable and seemingly
impossible to capture on camera.
The forty camera teams behind
the momentous nature documen-
tary that is "Planet Earth" would
only partly disagree. On the DVD
set, several cameramen and pro-
ducers confess the difficulties
they encountered trying to film
elusive wildlife phenomena like
a snow leopard's
hunt or the mating
dance of New
Guinean
birds of para- .
dise - spend-
ing days and
even weeks
waiting for just
a brief moment's
glimpse ...
MORE ONLINE
Check out the rest of
the story online
(michigandaily.com)

4

4

4

Act
ANN A68OR CIVIC THEATRE-
fthAIR :Y 1944Ant
Showtimes
Thursday 8:00pm

I
I
I

BOOK AND LYRICS BY
Gerome Ragni
and James Rado

MUSIC BY
Gait MacDermot

DIRECTOR MUSIC DiRECTOR
Caitlin Frankel Rowe Brian E. Buckner
CHOREOGRAPHERS
Emily Bugala Tawna Dabney Craig Nichols January Provenzola
JUNE 7-10, 2007
Thursday-Saturday at 8:00 pm - Sunday at 2:00 pm
in the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre, University of Michigan

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