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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Oct. 23, 1996)
Opera season opens
with two successes
By Jeff Randall
They had the talent, they had the instruction and they had the dedica
tion. They just didn’t have the words or music.
But now, opera is back at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s School
of Music, and the double-cast twin productions of “The Medium” and
“Down in the Valley” are the reason.
Last year’s performances of “The Tender Land” and “A Room With
a View” may have failed to fulfill the high expectations of many of
Lincoln’s opera enthusiasts. But this year’s season has started off with a
“The Medium” and “Down in the Valley” premiered Tuesday night
at Kimball Recital Hall. But the usual auditorium seating arrangement
was forsaken for a more intimate setup of bleachers on die main stage,
literally inches from the performers.
While this setup seriously cuts into crowd size, it also makes a huge
difference in the effectiveness of both pieces.
With “Down in the Valley,” Kurt Weill’s attempt at integrating tradi
tional opera themes with equally traditional American folk music, the
close setting becomes an opportunity for the audience to blend with the
joyous dancing and bright choral voices. This tale of love and romance
in a picturesque American small town is subsequently able to sweep
audiences into its world.
But the real advantage of the close audience setting is best exploited
in “The Medium,” Gian Carlo Menotti’s story of a scam artist and her
encounters with spirits from the beyond.
Madame Flora (played in both casts by Rebecca Kouma Shane), the
scam artist in question, makes a living by convincing mothers and fa
thers that idle can contact their deceased children’s spirits.
But Madame Flora soon discovers, much to her horror, that she might
not be faking her contact with ghosts. As the scenes progress, her inner
struggle with her own beliefs causes her to lose her sanity.
The audience setting comes into play when the voices from beyond
the grave echo behind the crowd and the desperation of Madame flora
is revealed face-to-face with the audience—at close range.
Shane does a magnificent job portraying her character’s loss of con
trol and the emotions involved with it. The other actors carry their roles
equally well, the accompaniment by Michael Cotton glows and the set
designs are simple but effective, proving that—given the right material
to work with — opera director William Shomos and UNL’s School of
Music can produce a top-notch opera any time it wants.
THE TWO OPERAS “The Medium” and “Down
in the Valley,” performed this week at the Lied
Center, feature two sets of performers who serve
as dual casts for the production. Above, Rebecca
Kouma Shane, left, stars as Madame Flora and
Chanty Stovall plays Toby the Mute in “The
Medium.” At left, Shane also shares the stage
with Dawn Doverspike, who plays Madame
Flora’s daughter, Monica.
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A University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Be a part of a dynamic student staff on campus. Student
Involvement has two immediate openings. Publications
Aas’t: write and edit newsletter, desktop pub. experience
helpful, 20 hrs/wk. Data Aaa't: manage database and
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at 200 NE Union, 472-2454.
HIRING FOR NEW LOCATION
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Exercise and be paid for it!
Deliver Daily Nebraskans downtown every weekday.
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Earn $36-$42 per night officiating City Recreation Basket
bail. If interested caul 441-7892.
We Have The Tools
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sales positions Black & Decker has to offer.
Refreshments will be served and dress is casual.
•Wednesday, October 23rd, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
•Student Union, Check kiosk for room assignment
•Interviews will be conducted Thursday, October 24th
•Call Career Services Center for an appointment
Lincoln health and nutrition company needs focused
indMduals that want to begin building a career todayl Cal
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FT/PT Lady Fitness now hiring salespeople. Call Mrs.
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Kappa Delta Sorority, come in or cal 43S-6293.
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The Office of Campus Recreation is currently hiring
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hour, 6-12 hours per week. If interested, please attend the
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Wednesday, October 23 at 400pm In the Nebraska
Union. Cal 472-3467 for more information.
Join our team!
Super 8, West 'Or now hiring: housekeeping and front
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Great part-time flexible hours/fun place to work. Servers/
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Several positions available for evening dining room/ban
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