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Montrose Voice, No. 162, December 2, 1983
File 021
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Montrose Voice, No. 162, December 2, 1983 - File 021. 1983-12-02. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. January 22, 2021. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/5357/show/5352.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(1983-12-02). Montrose Voice, No. 162, December 2, 1983 - File 021. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/5357/show/5352

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Montrose Voice, No. 162, December 2, 1983 - File 021, 1983-12-02, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed January 22, 2021, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/5357/show/5352.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Montrose Voice, No. 162, December 2, 1983
Contributor
  • McClurg, Henry
Publisher Community Publishing Company
Date December 2, 1983
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 22329406
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Montrose Voice
Rights In Copyright
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 021
Transcript David Eisler is HGO's bewildered Candide in the colorful / □ HGO's 'Candide' Is Carnival Masterpiece Houston Grand Opera. Candide' by Leonard Bernstein. Joseph McKee (Voltaire/Pangloss/etc.), David Eisler (Candide), Erie Mills (Cunegonde). Maris Clement (Paquette). William Parcher (Maximilian), Dana Krueger lOld Lady). Chorus and Houston Symphony Orchestra. John DeMain. conductor. By Peter Derksen If HGO keeps on presenting operas as well done as their Barber of Seville and Candide, audiences here might catch on to the possibility that going to the opera can be a delight rather than a gruesome chore. The adaptation of the Broadway musical to the operatic stage was an unqualified success. The dozens of subscribers who left their seats empty, perhaps in memory of Mr. Bernstein's less successful premiere of A Quiet Place last season, did themselves a great disservice. You could go a long way before finding better singing, acting and fun theatre. Even by the standards of opera, Can- dide's plot is hopelessly complicated. Voltaire wrote the original tale over 200 years ago, taking sides in a philosophical battle then raging, and which represented one of the last stands of organized religion in the mainstream of Western thought. The issues: "why do bad things happen to good people?" and "how may one attain true happiness in life?" are of some interest even today, and, in true French fashion, are much too important to be treated with anything less than comedy. Harold Prince's direction was dazzling. Every chance he gets, he wreaks havoc with conventional theatrical boundaries. The stage is open to our view all the time. Characters stroll through the audience, pop up in the orchestra pit, dangle from doorways, help each other with costume changes in center stage. The entire production is a "show within a show," presented as a carnival attraction at a Victorian fair, with the crowd of onlookers doubling as the chorus. The "fairgrounds" were the frame for Candide's 23 scenes, which took us, among other places, to Westphalia, Lisbon, the mid-Atlantic, Cartagena, El Dorado, a desert island, Constantinople, and rural France. Everything in the opera moves at breakneck pace. Only singers who can act and dance well can keep up, and, with insignificant exceptions, everyone on stage sang the witty and tricky lyrics clearly and understandably. Joseph McKee did more than double duty as Voltaire, whose narration binds the whole plot, the eternally optimistic Dr. Pangloss, and several lesser roles. The transitions from his high-pitched Mr. Magoo Voltaire voice and mellow baritone singing in the other parts was impressive, despite occasional vocal problems. (Among other things, he was called upon to pop up on the podium, lead the orchestra for a few bars, change character, then hop out into the audience and dash onstage.) Erie Mills stole the show (vocally) as Cunegonde. She tossed off the high coloratura in Glitter and Be Gay with ease and precision, and sang the lyric passages smoothly and comfortably. As with Teresa Stratas, we have a superb actress- /musician whose voice is unfortunately too small for live performances of many of the roles to which her talents entitle her; the full range of her abilities will probably be revealed only in the recording stuidio. David Eisler, indeed the "handsome young tenor" promised in HGO's promotions, sang and acted the naif Candide splendidly. His voice, pure and strong, was well suited to the music. He underacted perfectly, showing the appropriate mild bewilderment and despair when called for; this is not a role calling for bold drama. He was the blank slate upon which all the other characters and actions impinge. To give proper credit to the supporting singers, chorus and support staff would require 10 times this space. In general, the orchestra played well, though there were serious difficulties in the brass during the overture. John DeMain kept the bubbling music moving smartly along. Whole books, and even operas(!), have been devoted to arguing over which is more important in opera: words or music. With this performance of Candide, we have a third candidate: the production. We are reminded that opera is theatre with music added; those who feel otherwise have, thanks to technology, the option of sitting home with their stereos. Candide is great theatre with some of the most sparkling words and music to be found in all of opera. It is Bernstein's masterpiece, and it is unfortunate that our culture does not rate comedy as highly as tragedy, obliging geniuses of the former to consolidate their reputations by dabbling in the latter. From Rossini to Woody Allen, the results are not always favorable. Bernstein's composing talent is much better suited to the bright side of life than to the dreary. Candide plays at Jones Hall through Dec. 8. Don't miss it. □ 'Hamlet' and 'Macbeth' Given Bizarre Turn at Chocolate Bayou By Joe L. Watts British playwright Tom Stoppard (Rosen- crantz and Guildenstern Are Dead) has put together more of his historical spoofer- ies, and Shakespeare is the target again. In this case, it's two interrelated one-act comedies with the unusual title Dogg's Hamlet, Cahoot s Macbeth being given its Houston premiere at Chocolate Bayou Theatre. Dogg's Hamlet. Cahoot's Macbeth was first presented in 1979 for the inauguration of Inter-Action's British American Repertory Company (BARC). Dogg's Hamlet extends and combines two previous pieces, Dogg's Out Pet and The Dogg's Troupe 15-Minute Hamlet, which were written for Ed Berman (Prof. Dogg), director of the Inter-Action Troupe. The inspiration for Dogg's Hamlet came from Stoppard's fascination with language and an idea from the philosopher Wittgenstein whereby two languages could, for a short time, be happily coincident. The 15- Minute Hamlet was originally performed on a double-decker bus. Dogg's Hamlet is a sometimes funny skit wherein school kids take part in a graduation ceremony and then perform a crazy minute version of Hamlet, using an absurd language called Dogg. A daffy deliveryman called Easy comes in with a truckload of plans, slaps and cubes and becomes totally baffled with Dogg when the audience discovers that plank means "ready" and cube "thank you." Cahoot's Macbeth takes on a more serious tone, combining political satire with a living-room performance of Macbeth. Inspired by Stoppard's meeting with Czechoslovakian playwright Pavel Kohout, who through political dissent formed a call-group, the Living-Room Theatre, through which forbidden Czech actors could perform. Call them, and five people will come with one suitcase. In Cahoot's Macbeth, the one-suitcase troupe are giving their condensed Macbeth in the home of a hostess when a police inspector barges in to threaten the group. He demands their hest Macbeth, or else he will take them all to jail. Cahoot, who has been playing Banquo, hits all fours and goes into his Dogg act, speech and all. Easy, the deliveryman from Dogg's Hamlet, comes in near the end, surprising the audience with his fluent Dogg. The inspector asks Cahoot how you learn Dogg, to which Cahoot replys, "You don't learn it; you catch it." Whether or not you "catch the Dogg" in this production, I'm not sure you will enjoy it, unless you are a die-hard Shakespeare enthusiast (punster not purest), and even that is no guarantee. Stoppard's intentds rather original and worthy; it's just that "this Dogg" ain't no real Hoot—it might have been on a double- decker bus, however. Fault does not lie with the able direction by Cindy Goatley or the bright 11-member acting ensemble. Peter Bryson as Easy was an easy stand out and served his role with fine aplomb. Mark Walz and Billie Duncan pair well together and indivually with sharp performances as Macbeth and his Lady, respectively. Pamela Donahue has some funny moments as Mrs. Dogg and as Gertrude in Hamlet. Bill O'Rourke is very fine overall in his multiple roles as Fox Major, Hamlet and Banquo/Cahoot. This production barks through Dec. 10 at Chocolate Bayou (1823 Lamar). Tourists Prefer Torture This year's biggest tourist attraction in Florence, Italy, wasn't art, it was pain, reports Behavior Today. Outdrawing all the masterpieces at the Pitti Palace was an exhibit of torture instruments used from the 15th to the 19th centuries. The exhibit includes such old favorites as the rack, hanging cages and spiked interrogation chairs. The collection was such a hit that it's been taken on the road and may visit the U.S. in 1985. Proceeds go to human rights groups. Billie Duncan gives Lady Macbeth a strange twist in the Chocolate Bayou comedy
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