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March 27, 1991 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1991-03-27

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ARTS
Wednesday, March 27, 1991

The Michigan Daily
Opera Preview

O oooooh,

rock

me,

Giovanni

Page 7
Lush leads British
guitar band fest

by Julie Komorn
Everyone has experienced the pre-
,deadline all-nighter, but how many
f us would spend that anxious
night out on the town? Legend has it
that good old Wolfgang A. Mozart
was that type of guy. Don Giovanni
had been in rehearsal for several
weeks for its debut performance,
but it was unfinished musically.
With less than 24 hours to go before
the opening curtain, Mozart spent
the evening carousing with friends,
then stayed up all night in order to
finish the overture. After delaying
the curtain for more than an hour,
the finished work was rushed into
the hands of the orchestra, who were
then forced to perform the overture
in its entirety by sight. Mozart
himself conducted the symphony.
Fortunately, the School of
Music Opera Theatre is well pre-
pared for their performance of Don
*Giovanni this week. The opera is
based on the story of the libertine
Don Juan, who first appeared as a
literary character in 17th century
Europe in Tirso de Molina's play, El
Burlador De Sevilla Y Convidado
De Piedra (The Trickster of Seville
and the Stone Guest). The story has
been told in various forms by many
of the world's greatest writers, in-
cluding Moliere, Carlo Goldoni and
'Thomas Shadwell. The libretto of
Mozart's opera was written by
Lorenzo da Ponte.
Set in a city in southern Spain,
the opera tells the story of Don
Giovanni, a reckless seducer of
woimen, and of his comic and perpet-
ually ill-treated valet, Leporello.
Caught in the act of seduction, the
Don accidentally kills a woman's

father who has come to defend his
daughter's honor. Don Giovanni is
pursued and, after a series of mis-
deeds, which of course include at-
tempted seductions, he unexpect-
edly meets the spectre of the mur-
dered father while hiding in a
churchyard. The father appears in the
form of a statue, who the Don in-
vites to supper. The final scene cul-
minates with the statue exacting his
revenge, as he drags the defiant Don
into hell.
Internationally-known director
Travis Preston explains that the
opera focuses on exploring issues of
identity - what is revealed and
what is hidden. He has interpreted in
Don Giovanni a man who is the ul-
timate masculine hero - one who
meets all conflicts head on with wit
and cunning. He is a great lover, yet
always runs away from women.
Giovanni's paradoxical personality
is expressed through Preston's set-
design. Known for his use of bizarre
theatrical staging, he has included
minimalist scenic elements of sheer
draperies in an attempt to create
tension between the important
themes of concealment and disclo-
sure.
Martin Katz will be conducting
the University Symphony Orchestra
in playing the forceful, dramatic
music of this opera. Katz has
worked with some of the best-
known artists in opera today, in-
cluding Marilyn Horne, Jose
Carreras and Kiri Te Kanawa. The
opera will be sung in Italian with
English supertitles.
Don Giovanni, a "drama gio-
coso" (both comic and serious), re-
ceived its premiere on October 28,

by Greg Baise
When the voice at the other end
of the phone answered, "Hello"
in what I perceived to be
distinctly American tones, I
thought, "Great! Here's some
major label representative/tour
manager who'll tell me that
Miki can't come to the phone
right now because she and the
rest of the band are washing the
paints off of their semi-nude
bodies."
As it turned out, my ears were
deceiving me. The voice at the
other end of the phone was
British, and it belonged to Miki
Berenyi, the singer and one of
two guitarists for Lush.
Probably the best band around
right now that cuts into the
shimmering 4AD tinsel-and-
ether atmospherics of the
Cocteau Twins with the dual-
edged sadomasochistic/ecstatic
razorblade of My Bloody
Valentine, Lush is in the midst of
their first extensive tour of
America. A veritable psychedelic
noise-fest, the tour also includes
the band Ride, a Creation made up
of equal parts Velvets, Byrds and
Mary Chain, which probably
means half-Velvets, one third
Byrds and one-sixth some kind of
'80s/'90s postpunk indie
sensibility.
Lush congealed in October
1988, when Berenyi was thrust
into the dim limelight of lead
vocals, carrying her guitar with
her. Emma Anderson, the band's
principal songwriter, plays
guitar and contributes backing
vocals, and the two, who've been
friends for about a decade,'are
joined by Steve Rippon on bass
and Chris Acland on drums. "I
still don't think it's a good idea

that I sing," claimed the modest
Berenyi, who maintains that
before October 1988 the band
was hideous, which didn't
prevent the hyper-hyperbolic
British music press from
founding religions based on
Lush's live shows anyway.
Now, Lush lives up to its
reputation, releasing slices of
sunshiney afternoon delight
mixed with some passionate free-
falls through the whippets of
romance, with shards of glass
occasionally providing buoyancy.
Now, the British press can play
out its role in the capital-
ist/exploitative machinery of
publicity by releasing posters of
Lush basically clothed in body
paints and only body paints from
the waist up, with each band
member having a letter from the
band's name painted on her or his
chest. Now, Lush can dig into
their sordid past without shame,
as they survey their peers from
awfully close to the top of the
alternaperson charts in both
England and America.
From the period of pre-
transcendent Lush comes their
cover of Abba's "Hey Hey
Helen." Explains Berenyi, "'Hey
Hey Helen' was part of our early
set, when we only had six songs.
We thought a cover would
stretch the set out a bit, and we
tried to do 'S.O.S.' but we
couldn't figure it out." By the
way, the Anderson of Lush
(Emma) is not related to the
Andersson of Abba (Benny).
LUSH and RIDE bring several
guitars and a too-cool-for-
Pos'modern MTV talent to the
Latin Quarter in Detroit. Tickets
are a p.e.s.c.-y $9.50 in
advance.

Donna Elvira (Sara MacBride) is being seduced by Stud Muffin Don
Giovanni (Scott Jussila). What is he saying to her? Sweet nothings?
Advice on haircare? Or is he just peeking down her bodice?

1787, at the National Theater in
Prague. Initially, it was only mod-
erately received. Don Giovanni is
the second-oldest Italian opera in
the North American repertory (The
oldest is The Marriage of Figaro),
but its popularity has not dimin-
ished to this day and it is regarded as
one of the greatest operas of all

time.
DON GIOVANNI will be performed
tonight through Saturday at the
Lydia Mendelssohn Theater at 8:00
p.m. There is a held-over per-
formance on Sunday with a reduced
orchestra (two pianos) and a re-
duced price (10, $7, and $4 for stu-
dent seating).

- a .., ..'. ....

'Rush moves in on

by Liz Patton
You certainly won't hear anything
traditional at Stephen Rush's recital
tonight. Of the composers featured
on the program, Charles Ives was a
20th-century composer who broke
the mold, Leslie Bassett is a retiring
University professor and even the
Mozart symphony is in an
unfamiliar four-hands arrangement
for piano. Rush, pianist, composer
and music director for the Dance
Department, has interests that lie
squarely in modern music.
Why focus on the 20th century?
"I'm a composer, and I live now,"
answers Rush simply. But there's so
much diversity in 20th century mu-
sic, it makes it harder to find pieces
that "find their way into your fin-
gers." Evidently, Ives' "Concord"
sonata, the major work on the pro-
gram, has indeed found its way to
Rush's fingers.
Ives is a unique figure in
American music, and the "Concord"
sonata, the major work on tonight's
Sprogram, is among his best-known
works. Famous American transcen-
dentalist writers are sketched in
each movement: Emerson,
Hawthorne, Thoreau and the Alcott
family. "I'm very much a mystic,"
says Rush, "but it
(transcendentalism) isn't the end-
all. Still, that's what led me to
work on the piece in the first place

- there's something deeper." Part
of that "something" is represented
in the unusual structure. The wist-
ful main theme, signaled by a
prominent falling third, emerges in
a mysterious, fragmentary fashion
throughout the piece, to be revealed
fully only in the final movement.
Movement is also clearly an im-
portant part of music for Rush.
Acknowledging the physical effort
required, he calls the Ives sonata
"athletic." And of his work with
dancers, he says, "From listening
and moving at the same time, they_
know music differently than you or
I do. There's a one-to-one corre-
spondence between motion and emo-
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ves,
tion." About
compositions
always enjoy
of the theatri
What abo
gram? "Every
was original
instrument,"
anists seldom
sic for other
Leslie Bass(
written for a
the Ives' mat
various conc
from Symp

Mozart, Bassett
t half of Rush's own forget," says Rush, "that in the past
are for dance, and he two centuries, people much more
s the added dimension often got to know music through
cal realization. keyboard arrangements. You
ut the rest of the pro- couldn't just send your friends a
y piece on this program tape in the mail!" Rush insists that
ly written for another the four-hands versions of Mozart's
laughs Rush. But pi- music should be heard more often.
hesitate to adapt mu- "You get your fingers into it in a
media to their own. different way. It's a visceral en-
ett's Preludes were gagement with the music."

I

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on Giovanni
He's vile, he's no-good,
and a thousand women
would love to spend the rest
of their lives with him.
Mozart's classic opera
about the Don Juan myth
nT
.. \ 0 atiO endelssohn Theatre

LONDON

PARIS
WASHINGTON

8:00 PM
Wednesday
March 27

GRENOBLE
HAIFA
MADRID
NIGER
OXFORD
PADUA

CORTONA CYP
LONDON MAL
MONACO PAD
PARIS
USSR/E. EUROPE

RUS
DRID
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For program details complete the coupon below and mail it to:
Boston University
International Programs

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