The Daily Herald from Arlington Heights, Illinois on December 16, 2007 · Page 32
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The Daily Herald from Arlington Heights, Illinois · Page 32

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Sunday, December 16, 2007
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PAGE 30 SECTION 1 DAILY HERALD SUNDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2007 Tonight's best bets • Ozzy Osboume joins "The Haunted World of El Superbeasto" producer Rob Zombie on a tour of the country at 7:30 p.m., at Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim, Rosemont. ($49.75-$99.75) • Baseball figurehead and Slim Fast star Tommy Lasorda stops by Anderson's Bookshop to unleash his biography and tribute to the game, "I Live for This: Baseball's Last True Believer," at 2 p.m., 123 W. Jefferson, Naperville. Today's birthdays Author Sir Arthur C. Clarke, 90; actress Joyce Bulifant, 70; actress Liv Ullmann, 69; CBS news correspondent Lesley Stahl, 66; TV producer Steven Bochco, 64; ABBA singer Benny Andersson, at left, 61; actor Ben Cross, 60; ZZTop singer-musician Billy Gibbons, 58; The Blasters' musician Bill Bateman, 56; actress Alison LaPlaca, 48; actor Sam Robards, 46; actor Jon Tenney, 46; actor Benjamin Bratt, 44. Lottery Saturtay, Dec, 15, results: Midday Pick 3 8-7-9 Midday Pick 4 0-3-1-2 Evening Pick 3 2-0-8 Evening Pick 4 0-2-2-6 Little Lotto 3-13-16-18-20 ($100,000) Lotto 21-22-26-35-36-45 ($3 million) Powerball 22-37-47-48-50 (17) Power Play: 3 ($15 million) Sounds of silence resonate in Lyric's 'Doctor Atomic' BY BILL GOWEN Daily Herald Classical Mmic Critic bgmven Qdaifyherald. com The John Adams-Peter Sellars team has created another captivating night in the theater with "Doctor Atomic," which opened Friday at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Commissioned by the Lyric, along with the San Francisco Opera Association and the Netherlands Opera, "Doctor Atomic" arrives here having already been seen in San Francisco in 2005 and earlier this year in Amsterdam. As with any new opera, repetition allows the creators to make adjustments: adding or subtracting, or generally polishing the score, libretto and staging. Adams, one of the United States' most honored living composers, is making his Lyric Opera debut, while Sellars, the librettist and stage director, is back for the first time since 1989. "Doctor Atomic" is Adams' longest opera to date (and his fifth collaboration with Sellars as stage director). He has chosen an appropriately complex subject: the hours leading up to the first test of the atomic bomb in Los Alamos, N.M., in mid-July 1945. Rather than dwelling on scientific details, "Doctor Atomic" deals with the story's moralistic human side. The "Doctor Atomic" of the title is physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer. The role's 2005 creator, Canadian baritone Gerald Finley, reprises it at the Lyric. Now well settled into the role, Finley brings great nuance to his portrayal of a emotionally conflicted man who realizes his great scientific achievement also has the potential to destroy mankind. The dramatic high point for Finley closes Act 1, with an aria set to the opening stanza of John Donne's sonnet, "Batter my heart, three-per- son'd God," a favorite of Oppenheimer's wife, Kitty, and the reason he named the test site "Trinity." Kitty Oppenheimer, portrayed by soprano Jessica Rivera, has two powerful scenes, one with her husband in Act 1 and another near the end of the opera, which was added by Adams and Sellars for the Lyric's production. Army Gen. Leslie Groves, the manager of the top-secret Manhattan Project, is portrayed with humorous bluster in a "just get the job done" manner by the American bass-baritone Eric Owens. Groves has several of the opera's funniest lines, including a delightful scene when he demands a fair-weather forecast from his meteorologist, Jack Hubbard (baritone James Maddalena), threatening to replace him if he doesn't keep an impending thunderstorm at bay. Third-year Ryan Opera Center contralto Meredith Arwady wears all her emotions on her sleeve as the Tewa Indian maid Pasqualita, whose lullaby to the Oppen- heimers' infant daughter is a vocal treasure. Adams' score is written for full orchestra, with the composer's trademark pulsating rhythms balanced by stretches of serene beauty. The orchestra's live music is augmented periodically by dramatic movie theater-style recorded surround-sound effects. Donald Nally's Lyric Opera Chorus makes its usual solid contribution, most impressively in Act 2 when the god Vishnu appears in a vision with the chorus quoting from the text of the Bhagavad-Gita, "At the sight of this, your Shape stupendous!" Atlanta Symphony Orchestra music director Robert Spano shows full command of Adams' complex music right through the opera's conclusion, when the composer and Sellars choose to end the opera in total silence and darkness, not with a flash of light from the explosion. ,;PHOTO COURT£S.y OF ROBERT KUSEL/LYRIC OPERA imer, played by baritone Gerald Finley, J. Robert Oppe contemplates the future of mankind In John Adams' "Doctor Atpmic" at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Civic Opera Hoi^|fAWacker' Drive. , When: Additional performances at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Jan. 9,12,15 and 19;2p.m.Jan.5.•...,. .... Tickets: Call (3J^|32-2244, Ext. 5600, or vis||f'ricopera.org. >•. At a glance: Opera in two acts by John Adams, with libretto and stage direction by Peter Sellars. Co- production of Lyric Opera, San Francisco Opera and The Netherlands Opera. Adrianne Lobel, f * d'ftamlcova,'" JNally, fOperaof Chicago Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by Robert Spano. Starring: Gerald Finley as J. Robert Oppenheimer Eric Owens as Gen. Leslie Groves Jessica Rivera as Kitty Oppenheimer Meredith Arwady as Pasqualita James Maddalena as Jack Hubbard Richard Paul Fink as Edward Teller Thomas Glenn as Robert Wilson We all know history ... that A speculative silence on the the bomb went off as Oppen- future of the world is really the heimer and his team planned, ideal operatic ending. Giving a voice to Afghan kids 'Kite Runner' shows cultural experience BY DANN GIRE DAILY HERALD FILM CRITIC dffre@dattyhemld.com Ask Marc Forster to name the biggest challenge he had directing the movie version of Khaled Hosseini's international bestseller "The Kite Runner," and he says: "It started from the day I said, 'Yes.' It was by far the most complex and difficult movie I ever made." Forster has made a few tough, critically acclaimed movies such as "Stranger Than Fiction," "Finding Neverland" and "Monster's Ball.""None matches the sheer logistics of directing Hosseini's story about an Afghan lad who fails to help his best friend during a gang-rape by street kids. The lad moves to America. Years later, he grows up (now played by "United 93" actor Khalid Abdalla) and returns to Afghanistan to make amends. I interviewed Forster along with Abdalla and Hosseini when the trio came to open the Chicago International Film Festival in October. The movie's origmapopenlng date was burnped"back several weeks (it openedJjast$riday in a limited number of theaters) because of fears the young Afghan actors would be persecuted for their roles in the rape scene. "This is the first film that gives a voice to these children," Abdalla said. "It's the first film that gives a voice to the cultural experience of Afghanistan. Instead of this story concentrating on the violence and the people who blow up bombs, this story concentrates on the people who actually exist in those situations, who've actually suffered through it." The filmmakers had their Marc Forster own version of suffering, too, especially when shooting on location in China, near the border with Afghanistan. "We had to work with four languages to start with," Forster said. "We ended up with six. We had constant translators at work. We had the script in Chinese, English and Dari (an Afghan language). Then there were the pomegranates." In a scene where little Amir throws a fruit at his friend Hassan, Forster needed to use a fake pomegranate so that no harm would come to his actors being hit by real fruit. The director told his staff he needed 80. They could only make 20. "So, that's the kind of problems you encountered day to day," Forster said. For Hosseini, whose book has won legions of devoted followers, his publicity tours have given him a profound understanding of people. "At some level, we're all the same," he said. "I get letters from Arkansas. I get letters from India. I get letters from Brazil. It's amazing that no matter the language, the culture or the religion, (the book) connects in a very identical way. It connects as a story about very fallible people who desperately want to be better than what they are." Abdalla said the film, which opens Friday, would take Hosseini's story to new levels. "When you think of Afghanistan, you think of the Taliban but not of the six million refugees," Abdalla said. "We give that story life." SELL YOUR BOOKS HARPER STUDE GET UP TO 55% CASH BACK on Your Fall BOOKS ALL DECEMBER Remember to Buy and Sell all your Books at: "The Little Store that cares a lot.' COLLEGE TEXT BOOKS INC. 639 E. Algonquin Rd. • Schaumburg, IL 60173 Hi CtRI I OOO 1 Blk. East of Quentin, Next to Sizzle India www.whoneedstextbooks.com We have thousands of used books and new books. Just bring in your schedule. We will do the rest. Don't forget to sell last semesters books here for Cash. We buy back all year 'round. Not affiliated with Harper College Algonquin Rd. Bookstore I J I

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