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March 21, 1954 - Image 9

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1954-03-21

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r SUNDAY. MAR.CR, 21, 1954




Necessity Proves Festival's Parent

In every aspect tut one, this Thus, thinking that the Boston
year's May Festival will be a far symphony would again appear in
'~cry from the first one held on1ymhnwolagiapern
caypurmhea rstgon hdnthe spring of 1894, tickets for the
campus 61 years ago. cnetwn hsl uigte
The idea which was to be the concert went on sale during the
beginning of one of the Univer-f
sity's best-loved traditions was When it was discovered mid-!
born of necessity when another way through the winter that'
shorter-lived tradition died a sud- through a misunderstanding the
den and agonized death. Boston group wouldn't appear in;
* * Ann Arbor that year, the Musical,

FROM THE inception of the
University Musical Society and
the Choral Union in the 1879-
80 season, concerts were given
throughout the school year, fea-
turing both the Choral Union and
guest soloists. During the 1889-
90 season, however, it was decided
that the last concert, to be held in
May, should feature a foremost
artist or group to end the year on
a memorable note.
The Boston Symphony, then
the most popular orchestra in
the country, played at that final
concert, scoring such a success
that they returned for the final
concert of the season each May
for the next three years. Soon a
minor tradition was established
on campus, when it became an
accepted fact that the Boston
organization would close the
season at the University each
Fifth Concert
Will Feature
Young Tenor
Tenor John McCollum has been
making headlines instead of writ-
ing them since he exchanged a
newspaper career for that of a
singer in 1950.
McCollum will be one of the
featured singers in the perform-
ance of Mendelssohn's "Elijah" at
2:30 p.m. on May 2.
APPEARING HERE for the first
time, the 34 year old tenor has
risen in the eyes of the music
world at a rapid rate.
While at the University of
California and even while city
editor of the Coalinga, Calif.,
Record, singing was always a
serious sideline with McCollum,
but journalism seemed to be his
In 1950, however, he changed
his mind when he won an Atwater
Kent music Award. This gave him
the impetus to leave the paper,
and pursue a career in music.
In the four years that have fol-
lowed-his journalistic career, Mc-
Collum has sung in recitals, con-
certs and oratorios throughout the
West, East and Southeast both as
a soloist and as a member of thei
Oratorio Quartet.
IN THE EAST, McCollum had
leading roles with the Nw York.
Philharmonic-Symphony, Boston
Symphony, New England Opera
Theater, Tanglewood Opera The-
ater and many others.
One of McCollum's most cov-
eted awards was the winning of
the American Theater Wing
Award which enabled him to
have a debut in Town Hall, New
Last fall McCollum was the
leading tenor in the New England
Opera Theater when it made its
first national tour under the di-
rection of Boris Goldovsky.
He has completed a season at
the Berkshire Music Festival in
Tanglewood Massachusetts, where
he performed in four concerts with
the Boston Symphony, as well as
being featured tenor in the major
opera productions.

Society was thrown into a panic,
since it seemed that there was no
replacement 'which would live up
to the expectations the audience
had for this performance.
* * *
FINALLY, it was decided that a
60-piece group very popular in
the New England area at that
time, the Boston Festival Orches-
tra, was the most likely substi-
tute, and they were engaged for
one performance.
When members of the Musical
Society realized, however, that
the chief expense of bringing
the group here at all was in-
curred in transportation costs,
it was decided that they could,
with very little added expense,
hold the orchestra over for extra
concerts, thus compensating for
the last-minute switch in per-
Thus, taking the name from the
Boston Festival Orchestra, the
University Musical Society an-
nounced the "First Annual May
Festival," to be held in the spring
of 1894. It has since been re-
narked that the members of that
group were either men of great
foresight or of great stupidity,
since they burned all bridges be-
hind them by announcing this as
an "annual" festival.
* * *
AS IT TURNED out, that year's
May Festival was a far greater
success than possibly anyone had
dreamed it might be. The Ann
Arbor area, then sparsely popu-
lated, was actually starved for
the type of music provided by the
Newspapers all over Michi-
gan, caught by the novelty of
the idea, publicized it widely

for weeks in advance. Railroads
caught "festival fever," offering
special rates and providing
transportation to Ann Arbor for
people in neighboring areas
wishing to attend the festival.
The concerts were given in the
auditorium of University Hall,
whch seated only 2,200 people
and stood on the present site of
Angell Hall. Since more than twice
this number had flooded the town
for the performances, many heard
the concerts from the corridors
and stairways of the building, as
well as from outside University
* * *
ANOTHER interesting compli-
cation arose on the final night of
the festival when the special
trains which had brought the out-
of-towners failed to return to pick
them up. Thus, several hundred
festival-goers stood in a downpour
for hours until hastily-summoned
trains could be brought in from
Nevertheless, the audience's
enjoyment of the concerts re-
mained undampened, and the
Musical Society never wanted to
or dared risk a return to the
former system of a single spring
A few years later, during the 11
years that the Boston Festival
Orchestra remained the major
star of the series, an extra concert
was added to the spring affair.
After this orchestra stopped
making tours to the Middle
West the Chicago Symphony
was engaged, remaining the star
of the May Festival for the next
31 years. During that time the
number of concerts was raised
to five. Then, 25 years ago, six
concerts were given during the
week-long festival.
In 1936, the Philadelphia Sym-
phony Orchestra, conducted by
Leopold Stokowski, made its first
appearance in the May Festival.
since 1937, when Eugene Ormandy
became conductor of the group,
they have been the official orches-
tra for the annual festival.

Long-Curled Blanche Thebom
To Sing 'Gloria' DuringSeries

Top Talent
In Festival
(Continued from Page 1)
and violoncellist Lorne Munroe,
who will present "Concerto in A
minor, Op. 102."
"Variations on a Theme by
Haydn, Op. 56a" and "Academic
Festival Overture, Op. 80" will be
played by the orchestra during
this performance.
* * *
FEATURED as soloists in the
series' fourth program at 8:30
p.m. that day will be Metropoli-
tan Opera singer Kurt Baum, ten-
or, and soprano Zinka Milanov.
Baum's solo numbers will in-
clude "Nessun dorma" from
Puccini's "Turandot" and "Cie-
lo e mar" from "La Gioconda"
by Ponchielli.
This concert will mark Madame
Milanov'snsecond appearance in
the May Festival within the last
three seasons. Her solo numbers
in the performance will include
"Un bel di" from Puccini's "Mad-
ame Butterfly" and "Voi lo sa-
pete" from Mascagni's "Cavalleria
Also featured will be two duets
by the artists, whose selections
will be "O terra, addio" from Ver-
di's "Aida," and "Tu qui Santuz-
za?" from "Cavalleria Rusticana."
Wagner's "Overture to Die Meis-
tersinger," Hindemith's "Concert
Music for String Orchestra and
Brass Instruments, Op. 50" and
Yardumian's "Armenian Suite."
The 2:30 p.m. program on
May 2 will consist of Mendels-
sohn's "Elijah" sung by the
Choral Union and guest art-
ists. Solo roles will be sung by
Misses Marshall' and Thebom,
tenor John McCollum and bar-
itone William Warfield.
For the final concert at 8:30
p.m., with Eugene Ormandy once
again resuming the podium, fam-
ed pianist Artur Rubinstein, will
hold the spotlight as featured so-
loist. His selections for the eve-
ning will include Grieg's "Concer-
to in A minor, Op. 16" and Rach-
maninoff's "Rhapsody on a Theme
of Paganini, Op. 43."
The orchestra will perform'
Bach-Ormandy's "Toccata and
Fugue in D minor" and Landre's
"Symphony No. 3."

Selections from Opera
To Be Sung by Milanov

Only dramatic soprano to open
the Metropolitan Opera for two
consecutive seasons during the
past 12 years, Zinka Milanov will
appear in Hill Auditorium for the
first time at 8:30 p.m. May 1, dur-
ing the fourth program of the
May Festival series.
Her program will include Puc-
cini's "Un Bel Di" from "Madame
Butterfly" and Mascagni's "Voi 10
sapete" from "Cavalleria Rusti-
cana." With tenor Kurt Baum she
will sing the duets "O terra, ad-
dio" from "Aida" by Verdi and
"Tu qui Santuzza?" from "Caval-
leria Rusticana."
RAISED IN A musical family in
Zareb, Yugoslavia, Miss Milanov,
who had a contralto voice as a
child, studied at the Zareb Music
Conservatory. Leonora in "II Tro-
vatore" was the role she sang in
her operatic debut at the Zareb
Opera House.
Soon, however, she was notic-
ed by conductor Bruno Walter,

and sang in "Aida" under his
direction in Vienna. Through
Walter, she was brought to the
attention of Toscanini, who en-
gaged her to sing in his "Verdi
Requiem" at the 1936 Salzburg
This concert was the turning
point in Miss Milanov's career.
Through it Metropolitan Opera
manager Edward Johnson came
to hear her sing in the Prague
Opera. The day after her audition
for him she signed a contract with
the Met and has continued to sing
there for 11 seasons as their lead-
ing soprano in the Italian wing.
Since the Salzburg concert
she has appeared 13 times with
Toseanint in concerts through-
out the world.
Although Miss Milanov had giv-
en many concerts as guest solo-
ist with orchestras in New York,
it wasn't until two years ago that
she gave her debut recital in Car-
negie Hall.



" .....

.... ..

Blanche Thebom, posessor of
America's most famous ankle-
length brunette tresses, will sing
Vivaldi-Casella's "Gloria" in Hill
Auditorium at 8:30 p.m. April 30
during the second concert of the
May Festival.
The brunette locks of the Met-
ropolitan Opera star, which have
reached a length of 5' 5", have
been the subject of an article in
a national magazine and haver
brought her letters from all over
the world.
* * *
HER HAIR, which has not been
cut in 12 years, has sometimes
created problems which could on-
ly beset an opera singer.
She was once pinned to the
floor when her leading man in
"Mignon" knelt on her hair
while singing a lengthy aria.
Miss Thebom made her debut

movies have made her known to!
millions of music-lovers outside
the opera house.
* * *
RECOGNIZING the problem of
a virtuoso singer in appearing as
a soloist with a symphony orches-
tra, Miss Thebom suggested to
composer Ernst Krenek that this
lack of repertoire could open a
whole new field for contempor-
ary composers.
As a result of this suggestion,
she presented the world prem-
iere performance with Eugene
Ormandy and the Philadelphia
Symphony of Krenek's "Medea,"
a melodrama for voice and or-
chestra based on Robinson Jef-
fers' version of Euripedes' dra-
After an appearance at Town
Hall she signed a contract with

$12.00-Block A. Three central sections,
main floor and first balcony.
SEASON (Main floor exhausted).
TICKETS9.00-Block . Side sections, main floor
and first balcony; dnd top balcony,
first 8 rows.
$8.00-Block C. Top balcony, rear 13 rows.
SINGLE $3.00-Main Floor.
CONCERTS $2.50-First Balcony.
$2.00-Second Balcony, first 8 rows.
$1.50-Second Balcony, rear 13 rows,
By buying season tickets a considerable saving is made,
and a better seat location secured.

Kurt Baum's Operatic Career
Helped Along by Broken Nose

with the Metropolitan during the the Metropolitan. Since then she
1944-45 season. Since then her has sung the leads in the operas
regular appearances on radio and "Carmen," "Samson and Delilah"
television programs as well as in i and "The Rake's Progress."


Tenor star of the Metropolitan
Opera, Kurt Baum, who will sing
in the May Festival at 8:30 p.m.,
May 1, attributesihis first encour-
agement as a singer to a broken
Baum will appear in a joint
concert with Zinka Milanov, also
from the Metropolitan. He will
sing "Nessun dorma" from Ruc-
cini's "Turandot," "Cielo e mar"
from Ponchielli's "La Gioconda,"
and join Miss Milanov in singing
"O terra, addio" from Verdi's
"Aida" and "Tu qui Santuzza?"
from Mascagni's "Cavalleria Rus-
* * *
AS FOR HIS broken nose, the
incident goes back to an amateur
bout Baum had with Max Schmel-
ing, in which the tenor stopped a
fast right with his nose, ending
the bout and necessitating the re-
moval of some cartilage from his
Baum returned to his glee club
that week an unhappy man.
When he started to sing, the
conductor noted that Baum's
voice was "more resonant."
This encouragement led Baum
to win the Vienna International
Competition in 1933. As a result
of his success he was invited to
make his professional debut at

the Vienna State Opera. How-
ever, the Prague-born tenor de-
cided that he needed experience
in a small theater, and made hi'
debut the following year in Zur-
ich singing in Verdi's "Il Trova-
WHEN BAUM was in Prague
Edward Johnson, former manager
of the Metropolitan Opera, had
heard him sing the Italian tenor's
part in Strauss' "Der Rosenkava-
lier," and had promised that one
day Baum would sing at the Met.
That promise came true in 1941,
for Baum sang the tenor's role in
the Strauss opera at his debut.
In the intervening years,
Baum sang all the Italian tenor
parts in: "I Trovatore," "La
Gioconda," "Tosca," "La Forza
del Destino," "Un Ballo in Mas-
chera," "Turandot," "Cavalleria
Rusticana" and "Pagliacci" -
and in the last two, known in
opera circles as "ham 'n eggs,"
sang both leading tenor roles
during the same day on one oc-


These Stars and Others

atThe May Festival

Equally known for his
performances and as a
singer and interpreter
songs, Baum has given
from coast to coast.

of art



concept Ce~id4 t



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