Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida on March 4, 1985 · 52
Get access to this page with a Free Trial

A Publisher Extra Newspaper

Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida · 52

Publication:
Location:
St. Petersburg, Florida
Issue Date:
Monday, March 4, 1985
Page:
52
Start Free Trial
Cancel

4d ST. PETERSBURG TIMES MONDAY, MARCH 4. 1985 Diction problems mar innovative production of 'Rake's Progress' By MARY NIC SHENK St. Patartbur y Tim i Music Critic SARASOTA The adventuresome Sarasota Opera has tackled yet another innovative production in its growing list of seldom attempted musical stage works. Stravinsky's unconventional 1951 creation, The Rake's Progress, is the latest. It opened Saturday night to a mixture of reactions bravos.and bravas from the rear of the Sarasota Theater of the Arts, while some of the formally attired opera supporters and underwriters quietly left the hall before the 11:45 p.m. conclusion. IT WAS a highly creative and successful production except for the tiring lack of clear diction. A long three hours and 15 minutes production was made even longer by the utter inability to understand the text, although the piece was sung in English. It would have aided the performance had surtitles (translations projected on the proscenium arch) been used as they were for the production of Fidelio, which was sung in German. This is not meant facetiously. It was a terrible strain to hear the words unless singers were singing without orchestra or carefully separating and projecting their words in a forward, spoken style at moderate, not loud, volume. (Chorus was exemplary in this ability). Even knowing the synopsis was not enough to hold the attention or cut through the thick musical texture which too often covered the voices. The Rake's Progress concerns young Tom Rakewell, who becomes a debauched wastrel when he receives an unexpected inheritance from his uncle in London. He deserts his fiancee, Anne Trulove, and follows the empty promises of Nick Shadow, a Mephistophelian figure who leads Tom astray each time he utters a wish. "I wish I had money," he says first. Shadow appears and informs Tom of his inheritance. Tom continues to make wishes (the only spoken words in this production) and finally lands in an insane asylum saying, "I wish for nothing else." The moral of REVIEW opera Tha Rale I Prograaa (Stravinsky), pra-sontsd in repertory March 2 by the Sarasota Opera at Sarasota Theater of the Arts, 61 N Pineapple, Sarasota. Remaining performances Tuesday and Thursday at 8: IS p.m., March 10 at 2:15 p.m. Other productions: Fidelio (Beethoven) on Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.; Th Abduction from tha Soragho (Mozart) on Friday, 8: IS p.m.: Lucia oV Lammarmoot (Donizetti) on Saturday, 8:15 p.m. Tickets $21, 26. 30. Call Sarasota 953-7030. Libretto: W. H. Auden and Chester Kali-man, inspired by the engravings of William Hogarth. Conductor: Victor DeRerui Stage Otrector: Linda Brovsky Scenic and Principals' Costumes Designer: Zack Brown Lighting Designer: Jane Reisman Wig & Makeup Designer: Charles Elsen Set and Costumes: from Washington Opera , Artistic Advisor: Souhma Stravinsky Chorus Preparation: Carol Walker the story, sung by the principals in the epilogue, is the familiar: "Idle hands are the devil's workshop." THE THREE-ACT, nine-scene opera is a fascinating combination of 20th-century musical composition with 18th-century style in solos, ensembles, recitatives accompanied by harpsichord. Known as"neo-classic," it is an ideal match for the weird story, based on a libretto by W. H. Auden. Emotions express love, humor, even pathos, as you see operatic glimpses of Faust, Abduction From the Seraglio, Don Giovanni. The orchestral score is brilliant, and was played superbly by the opera orchestra, members of the Florida Orchestra of St. Petersburg-Tampa-Clear-water. In fact, the exciting Stravinsky score deserves to be heard alone as an orchestral suite. But too often Saturday night's performance seemed to become a competition between voices and instruments, which could have been at least partially alleviated had conductor Victor DeRenzi kept orchestral volume un der the singers' voices. Soprano Sheryl Woods (Anne Trulove) and tenor Franco Farina (Tom Rakewell) were exceptional young artists, both of whom have sung with the New York City Opera. They belong to that wonderful new breed of singing actors whose dramatic abilities equal their vocal abilities, the combination providing a totality of characterization which is becoming increasingly essential on today's operatic stages. Their solos and duets were beautiful, their voices flexible and warm, the technical demands easily met throughout their wide vocal ranges, and their expressiveness lovely. Anne's aria, "I go to him," and Tom's final aria with its high pianissimo tones were particularly impressive. Farina's diction was better than Woods', although both voices were primarily in the high registers which come through more easily than the low. Bass-baritone William Dansby (Nick Shadow) and Kenneth Bell (Trulove, Anne's father) often sang too loudly with lack of vocal focus, causing the tone to spread and become hooty. When Dansby occasionally sang in a spoken style, his words became more clear and his voice more controlled. Mezzo soprano Elaine Bonazzi is hilarious as Baba the Turk, the circus bearded lady whom Tom marries at Nick's suggestion. She is a character actor par excellence, and plays her role to the hilt. Even with her large, dark voice, she projected her words clearly the majority of the time. Tenor Howard Bender was delightful as Sellem, the auctioneer. And versatile chorus members, apprentices with the company, handled their variety of roles brilliantly. They are the inhabitants of Mother Goose's brothel, then "proper" English buyers at an auction of Baba's possessions, and finally the inmates of the asylum. The presence of Soulima Stravinsky, son of the composer, as artistic adviser for the opera, gave the production additional impact. Stravinsky is a relatively new resident in the Sarasota area. Taft from 1-D At first that seems surprising. Phoenix is a smaller television market than Tampa-St. Petersburg (24th to our 17th). Yet Taft wanted Gulfs KTSP-TV so badly that it arranged an option to acquire the station for $250-million even if the rest of the Gulf transaction falls apart. TAFT PAID extra for two things: First, to get into Phoenix. "Everybody wants Phoenix," said media broker Howard E. Stark. "Tampa-St. Pete is a more mature market. Phoenix has a lot of growth ahead of it." In fact, the desert city just spurted ahead of the Suncoast in growth estimates prepared by Paul Kagan Associates, a media research company. Taft also paid extra because KTSP dominates Phoenix. Channel 10 also does very well on the Suncoast, but the trade publication Electronic Media, quoting figures an unnamed analyst said were provided by Taft, said the Phoenix station is projected to earn $17-million to WTSP's $16-million in 1985. Neither Taft executives nor Gulf president Alan Henry would confirm any published figures. Henry did speculate that KTSP, known as KOOL until Gulf bought it three years ago, might demand more due to its affiliation with CBS, the leading network in terms of glamor, entertainment ratings and especially in news. Assorted sources break down the rest of the Gulf purchase price as follows: Independent KTXH-Ch.20 in Houston: $80-million to $85-million; Independent KTXA-Ch.21 in Dallas: $80-million to $85-million; ABC affiliate WGHP-Ch.8 in Greensboro N.C.: $38-million to $40-million; Radio stations WKLS-AM & WKLS-FM in Atlanta; KTXQ-FM in Dallas; KLTR-FM in Houston, WNDE-AM & WFBQ-FM in Indianapolis and WLTT-FM in Washington, D.C.: together $92-million to $95-million. The purchase left Gulf Broadcast with only a Palm Springs, Calif., station and its nonbroadcast holdings, including North Dallas real estate. For unspecified reasons, the highly profitable firm is liquidating its assets less than two years after being spun off of the Gulf United insurance company, which was itself acquired by a larger firm in 1983. (Executives with the Dallas holding company could not be reached last week.) TAFT WAS founded in 1939 as a broadcast company and, after straying into more tangible aspects of the leisure industry, lately has been returning to its roots. Taft already owns seven TV and 13 radio stations: Independent WCIX-Ch.6 in Miami; ABC affiliate WBRC-Ch.6 in Birmingham, Alabama; ABC affiliate WTVN-Ch.6 in Columbus, Ohio; ABC affiliate WKRC-Ch.12 in Cincinnati; NBC affiliate WDAF-Ch.4 in Kansas City, Mo.; Independent WTAF-Ch.29 in Philadelphia; Independent WDCA-Ch.20 in Washington, D.C. PRiCE BOSTiN r Taft owns pairs of radio stations in Buffalo, N.Y., Cincinnati, Columbus, Kansas City, Portland, Ore., and Tampa-St. Petersburg, and an FM outlet in Pittsburgh. "They do very well in radio, being in the one, two or three positions in many of their markets," said Gottes-man of L. F. Rothschild. "And radio is a business where you can have your a- handed to you." To further emphasize its interest in broadcasting, Taft last year sold most of its financially demanding amusement parks: Kings Island in Cincinnati, Kings Dominion in Richmond, Va., Hanna Barbera Land in Houston and Carowinds in Charlotte, N.C. With the debt for Gulf looming, the only park Taft retained, Canada's Wonderland in Toronto, is expected to be sold as well. "I guess everything is for sale," said Ed Sander, general manager of WSUN and a Taft employee for two decades. Just as readily, Taft chairman Charles Mechem added, "Frankly, if the prices aren't attractive to us, we won't sell." Taft is into television almost every way possible. It has an interest in a company that arranges video conferences by satellite, owns an equity interest in the Black Entertainment Television cable network and, with Tele-Communications Inc., operates 15 cable systems, mostly in Michigan. The company both makes programs and syndicates them. It owns Hanna-Barbera and Ruby-Spears Productions, which between them produce just about every Saturday morning cartoon a person would care to name. By contrast, Taft's Titus Productions is known for its tony television movies, including HBO's Sakharou and the Albert Finney John Paul 11 that ran on CBS last Easter Sunday. Taft is producing The Lucie Arnaz Show for CBS this spring. Worldvision Enterprises is the television syndication company formed to sell ABC's programs when the federal government kicked the networks out of ''ie syndication business. Taft owns it, peddling re-i is of The Mod Squad around the globe. AND IN its spare ti - ait Broadcasting Company makes movies. It ow .ne exploitation-oriented New World Pictures, produced the mad-dog horror film Cujo last year and also financed the art-house favorite Reuben, Reuben. Taft owns a controlling interest in the Philadelphia Phillies and broadcasts their gamee on its Philadelphia TV station. The company owns part of Entertainment Tonight, Star Search and Solid Gold. Chairman Mechem said Taft stations also produce public affairs programs for themselves and sister stations. He would not say whether WTSP's current management would be retained to broadcast them. He spoke well of Channel 10 and its boss, however, saying he was "impressed" by both. "Certainly, as a company we are the not the kind to move in and make wholesale changes," Mechem said. "In fact, quite the contrary." Pending approval of the FCC and Gulfs stockholders, the sale might not be completed until year's end. Thousands from 1-D lifeguard. "I was a fulltime student when Cocoon was casting," Peterson said of the other recently filmed movie on the Suncoast. "But now I have a couple of night classes." He seemed philosophical about his shot at a part. "I don't know what your chances really are. It seems like they're really going to have to try and find you," Peterson said. "It's just a case of who's going to get an opportunity. But Shari told me I look like a lifeguard. I guess that gives me a little edge." A woman who asked to remain nameless she directed questions to her daughters and said, tight-lipped, "Just refer to me as 'the pressured I mother' " brought 12-year-old Bri-chelle and 6-year-old Arnitra Hall of St. Petersburg. Both girls want to be actress. Asked who her favorite star was, Brichelle frowned thoughtfully for a moment. "I know," Arnitra stage-whispered to her. "Tina Turner!" "She's not an actress," Brichelle said icily. "I guess Goldie Hawn." MORE THAN a few of the older people seemed merely interested in a closer look at the world of movies. One older woman leaving the gym said "It's just something I want to experience. I'm retired and I'm busy all the time, but this would be something else to talk about," she said. She didn't want to give her name, though. "In case nothing comes of it, it might be a little embarrassing." HO f gM OS Share the sparkle of the Festival of States with a friend! Order your mailaway copies of the Festival of States souvenir edition today from your St. Petersburg Times carrier or any Times business office. Published April 1, the souvenir costs only $1 per copy, including postage, and can be mailed anywhere in the U.S. or Canada. Model 2086 Model . Model 2086 ESP UPRIGHT EXTRA SUCTION POWER 65 AMP MOTOR Brilliant headlight e Exclusive RugulHW Carpal Height Adjustment e Edge Kleener Vlbra-Qroomer IP All Steet Beater Bar Brush noil Triple Filter system Model 1514 re a ia JA..klA i i ,w wTi , ' Peak MP cleaning action. motor J JtofJ H' Sturdy all steel canister construction Brilliant Headlight for long lasting durability. tVplec attachment set Included Roto-Maflc" pawerhead Automatic Carpet Height Adjustment Beater Bar Brush Roll 0';; r-irA .40."Pm" '!$?vJ,T UKI fll r!"' Jfif 1 bs--. sB- us75 SiUr Mfg. Suggested Retail Prices & Models May Vary Between Dealers StTeTERSBUR ST. PETERSBURG ST. PETERSBURG ST. PETERSBURG Bill's House ' Mr. Ed's Vacuum 4-D Vacuum Main Sew of Vacuum Sales & Service Center & Vacuum Center 5701-5723 Central Ave. 5208-66th St. N. 1 100-62nd Ave. N. 4300-49th St. N. 347-2530 347-1204 544-0773 526-1420 526-2702 CLEARWATER CLEARWATER CLEARWATER CLEARWATER M&M Sewing Machine A-1 Sales & Service George's Vacuum Cleaner Vacuum Cleaner Highland Plaza 3427 U.S. 19 N. Sales & Service Sales & Service tl 254 S. Highland Ave. (oaoufromnaw Zoyra'iStora) I 1261 S. Fort Harrison I 1 728 N. Ft. Harrison Ave. I 446-5010 785-6401 446-1857 446-6923 CLEARWATER PALM HARBOR NEW PORT RICHEY CRYSTAL RIVER Gulf Discount Gulf Discount House, Inc. Harbor Sew & Vac Citrus Discount Vacuum House, Inc. 3700 U.S. 19, 51 16 U.S. Hwy. 19 728 S.E. Hwy. 19 Q 1770 Drew St. Lakeshore Plaza (across from Southgate) Crystal Center I 442-5744 938-7005 849-8663 904795-4161 .P.O., . 1 iSiSitiHi

Clipped articles people have found on this page

Get access to Newspapers.com

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 21,900+ newspapers from the 1700s–2000s
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Publisher Extra® Newspapers

  • Exclusive licensed content from premium publishers like the Tampa Bay Times
  • Archives through last month
  • Continually updated

Try it free