SUNDAY, MAY 5, 1957
THE MICM AN DAHM
SUNDAY, MAY ~, 19~7 THE MTCHIGAN 1) lily rAGI! TTfltl!W
8 AAI-Aj;A JLAA-J. "
SUBSTITUTES FOR BAUM:
Petrak Rushes to Concert
By MAGARET MOORE
"I was in the garden transplant-
ing roses when I got the call to
take Kurt Baum's place," Rudolf
Petrak, New York City Opera's
leading tenor, related yesterday.
Contacted at 11 a.m. Thursday
morning, he was given 70 minutes
to pack and travel from his home
in Greenwich, Conn., to La Guar-
dia airport, New York. To make
the plane he had to drive 70
miles an hour in a 45-mile-an-
Although he didn't get a ticket,
Petrak, who played Radames in
the May Festival concert perform-
ance of "Aida" Friday, was quite
worried - the Connecticut courts
take array your license for speed-
Petrak arrived here Thursday
afternoon in time for a two-hour
rehearsal and another three-hour
It wasn't until the party after
the performance that he and con-
ductor Thor Johnson realized they
had never rehearsed the second
Although he believes in lots of
exercise and sports-he was an
athletics coach in Czechoslovakia
- he feels all violent exercise
should be stopped three or four
days before a performance because
it takes a day or two to feel any
This short, stocky, vigorous ath-
lete and highly sensitive, expres-
sive artist is very much a family
man. His wife Eva was a champion
figure skater in Czechoslovakia.
They also have two children,
Peter Rudolf, who is five and a
half years old and Evan Dwight,
who is two and a half.
. Petrak heard Aida, his first
opera, when he was seven, and still
thinks it's the greatest grand
opera. His favorite music, how-
ever, is that of Mozart and Bach.
There was always music in
Petrak's home. When he was 13
years old he gave his first recital
on the violin.
Not Always Career
Music, although a part of his
life, was not always his career.
For many years he taught sports
and academic subjects at the
Teachers College in Spisska Kapi-
tula. While he was singing in the
famous Teachers' Chorus, the
director of the National Opera
heard him and invited him to
He was then ordered by the
Minister of Education in Czecho-
slovakia to spend half his time
teaching and half singing for the
Opera. After singing for three or
four years, he got a temporary re-
lease and went to Italy and Vienna
to study under Riccardo Stracci-
ari, world-renowned baritone.
When World War II broke out
he bribed a German diplomat
with a set of guns to smuggle him
out of Austria.
After the war he returned to
Ewert To Tallk
Prof. Alfred Ewert, of Oxford
University's romance languages de-
partment, will discuss "The Judas
Iscariot Legend in Mediaeval Lit-
erature" at 8 p.m. Thursday in
Aud. A, Angell Hall.
Prof. Ewert, a former Rhodes
Scholar, is known for two publica-
tions in French literature, an edi-
tion of "Gui de Warewic" and his
"The French Language."
Presently a reviewer of scholarly
works in the mediaeval field, Prof.
Ewert has worked for the past 15
years as editor of a series of French
texts for students.
He is on leave this year for travel
and lecturing In this country and
in Canada. His talk is being spon-
sored by the romance languages
PLAN CHANGE-Rudolf Petrak
but he almost didn't make it. Con
the National Opera and was sing-
ing the role of Manrico in II Tro-
vatore in December 1947 when the
director of the New York City
Opera heard him and invited him
to come to America.
Petrak took a leave of absence
from the National Opera and was
in the United States when the
Communists overthrew the Czech-
oslovakian government the fol-
Three years later, when he was
granted permanent residence by
a special act of Congress, his wife
was allowed to enter the country
as a displaced person. She had
escaped to Austria meanwhile and
was living with her parents.
Petrak was openly approached
by the communists and Czechoslo-
vakians several times and warned
to return to Europe.
When he came to America, he.
didn't speak a word of English,
although he could speak Italian,
French, German and Russian flu-
ently. Because everyone spoke to.
him in these languages, it was
three years before he started to
learn English, he admitted sheep-
During his seven seasons in
America, Petrak has become a.
favorite through appearances at
the New York City Center, in Chi-
cago's Grant Park every summer,
and in numerous guest perform-
ances with opera companies of
Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Chicago,
San Francisco, San Antonio, and
Petrak believes that American
audiences are more critical than
Enjoyment Their Reason
"Europeans go to the opera the
way we go to the movies, for
enjoyment. Americans go to opera
to learn. They read the librettos
and listen to recordings, perfected
after many tries. I am afraid of
phonograph records for this rea-
"However, they have a right to
expect this perfection," Petrak ad-
mitted, "yet Europeans realize
their performers are human.
"If one performance is poor,
the say 'Oh, well, we'll see him
again next week'."
Petrak flew in on the same plane
with Alexander Brailowsky, piano
soloist for Thursday evening's May
"Brailowsky was ill with influ-
enza, was running a high fever,
and had a headache. Yet he told
no one," Petrak said.
sang the tenor role from Aida,
ntacted Thursday, he sang Friday
"I heard him play the same
Concerto No. 3 in C minor in
Philadelphia several months ago
and he was magnificent. Yet here
they heard him only last night and
were disappointed," he continued.
"They had a right to be disap-
pointed," he admitted. "Yet in
Europe, people would realize he
was sick and it would be all right.
"I know if Americans had seen
him off stage they would feel sorry
for him. It is funny, but Ameri-
cans are like that. They begrudge
the loan of a quarter, but they'll
give you a thousand dollars," he
Stokes To TFell
Washington columnist Thomas
L. Stokes will discuss "Big Gov-
ernment's Challenge to the Press"
at 3 p.m. tomorrow in Rackham
A Pulitzer Prizewinner for re-
porting, Stokes will appear under
journalism department sponsor-
ship. The lecture will be open to
Stokes' work has taken him to
all national political conventions
since 1924. He has covered nation-
al politics in Washington, includ-
ing presidential campaigns, for
nearly 36 years.
University Young Democrats ad-
vanced resolutions on discrimina-
tion and rising costs at educational
institutions at its state conven-
tion in Detroit this weekend.
The first resolution to be pro-
posed says, "No educational insti-
tution receiving any state funds
shall be permitted to segregate its
students according to race, reli-
gion, or ethnic origin. Nor may it
require photographs of entering
students, or of students making
application for room in institu-
tional residence; nor require any
information on any official form
intended to disclose the student's
race, religion or ethnic origin; nor
be allowed to select roommates
for students on the basis of race,
religion or ethnic origin."
This resolution also forbids any
state-spported institution to en-
courage, recognize or support in
any way any group or organiza-
tion which "overtly or covertly
practices racial, religious or eth-
nic discrimination in the selection
of its membership."
Roger Williams Fellowship, a film
about Roger Williams, May 5, 6:45 p.m.,
Michigan Union, life memberships
may be picked up at the Union Busi-
ness Office between 9:00.- 5:00 Monday
through Friday by all full time male
students who have paid full time tui-
tion for eight semesters.
Hillel: Student Zionist Organization,
Israeli dancing and singing, May 5, 7:30
The Contemporary Literature Club,
May 6, 3545 S.A.B. Topic: Wallace Ste-
vens. Discussion will be moderated by
M. Benamou (French Dept.) Poems:
the Emperor of Ice Cream; Apostrophe
to vincentine; Sad Strains of a Gay
Waltz; Poetry is a Destructive Force;
Angel Surrounded by Paysans; The
Rock - Seventy Years Later. Optional:
Sunday Morning; Notes Toward a Su-
* * *
Political Issues Club, May 7, 7:30,
Michigan League. Speakers: Prof.
Koenig, A. Brendan Sexton, Educational
Director of UAW-CIO, "What Should Be
University of Michigan Folk Dancers,
a program of intermediate couple and
set dances, May 6, 7:30-10:00, Lane Hall.
* * *
Graduate Outing Club, hike and sup-
per, May 5, 2:00, Rakham.
Unitarian Student Group, attend May
Festival concert Sunday evening, May
5, 8:30. Meet at Hill Auditorium.
Lutheran Student Association, Ger-
man supper at 6:00 and panel moder-
ated by Dr. Lenski on courtship and
marriage, May 5, Lutheran Student
Wesleyan Guild, worship and pro-
gram, movie "Walk to Freedom," May
5, 6:45, Wesley Lounge.
The Congregational and Disciples
Student Guild, May 5, 7:00, Memorial
Christian Church. Bob Geake will tell
of his experiences as a counselor atf
the Fresh Air Camp.
, , .
MORRILL'S...314 S. State
SEASON TICKET PRICES
no seams t oa rry about
dressl;on d service-sheers
short, medium, long
Evenings Through Thurs.
Fri. and Sat. Evenings
Matinees (Thurs., Sat.)
$10.00, $ 7.50
Make Cheeks Payable to U. of M, Drama Season
__v w . u . - ww .s m m.__ - m