The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, March 06, 1998, Page 9, Image 9
Peking Opera brings ancient tradition to Lied By Bret Schulte Assignment Reporter The Orient is coming to Lincoln, and not through Pier 1 Imports. The Peking Opera, famous throughout the world for its centuries-old tradition of “active” opera, brings its pageant of traditional costumes, fairy tales and highly skilled performers to the Lied Center for Performing Arte tonight. Unlike Western opera, in which music is emphasized over physical action, opera in the Peking tradition employs dancers, acrobats and martial artists to bring its stories to life, said pro ducer Dan Hughes. “Peking Opera is action opera,” Hughes said. Evolved from centuries of Chinese tradition, Peking Opera incorporates three basic forms of physical Chinese art: dance, gymnastics and opera. Performers train their entire lives to master the vast repertoire of Chinese folk tales and upeia pieces, //_ usually study •• ing all three Every foot “aT movement, hand m^y“ye movement and ^ 5®“stud^ ing for years, eye movement is SVghes said ^ You just can t significant^alk iat0 a ^ J Peking Opera DANHUGHES :t°aTwoyrkn producer every foot movement, hand move ment and eye movement is significant. “They’ve got kids 6 or 7 years old training to be a Peking performer.” Since the late 1980s, The Peking Opera has been selling out performance centers around the country. Tonight’s performance is part of the company’s second visit to the United States. The . group’s tour started in February and will contin ue through April. With more than 50 members of the company on the tour, the Peking Opera has been dazzling crowds with its elaborate costumes and brilliant ly choreographed action sequences. “Standing ovations is what we’ve been hav ing consistently,” Hughes said. “This is a cultur al and entertaining experience for children and adults.” rui u.o. icsiuems, me rexing upera nas created a program of excerpts from four classic Chinese stories. Divided into two roughly 45-minute halves, The Peking Opera will perform two short fairy tales: “The Sword is a Gift from Bai Hui” and “Stealing the Stored Silver” during the first half of the program. After intermission, the program will change slightly, focusing on sequences from popular Chinese novels of the 16th century. The first piece is “Li Kui visits his Mother” from the clas sic “Outlaws of the Marsh” - a story of a man who takes his blind mother to war with him because she can no longer live on her own. “Havoc in Heaven” follows, and is immense ly popular among audiences, Hughes said. The story focuses on the Monkey King, whose antics as he crashes an aristocratic banquet get a lot of laughs from the audience, Hughes said. “It’s very beautifully done and certainly without a doubt the Monkey King is a favorite,” Hughes said. “He is adorable.” Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $22, $18 and $14, half-price for students. For more informa tion, call the Lied Center Box Office at (402) 472-4700. Hughes said tonight’s show is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity. “The only way to go see a show like this is to go to China,” he said. “And that V expensive.” the idol of 1 march Symphonic Band to pay tribute to Sousa at Lied By Barb Churchill Assignment Reporter Being 60 years removed from the face of the Earth usually cuts into one’s performance schedule. But Saturday night, John Philip Sousa will be in Lincoln for a repeat engagement. Sort of. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Symphonic Band will perform “A Salute to Sousa,” an exact recreation of a 1928 Sousa concert appearance in Lincoln. Rod Chesnutt, director of the Symphonic Band and assistant professor of music at UNL, said this particular concert format is based on Sousa’s because Lincoln was a regular stop for his renowned professional concert band in the 1920s and 1930s. “This concert is recreated from the original material, right down to the soloists, the over tures, the marches and the other pieces,” Chesnutt said. Sousa’s imnnrtance to Amorioan musir anH the American concert band cannot be overesti mated. Sousa was the preeminent bandleader of his time, and was “the most famous musi cian in the world,” Chesnutt said. Sousa composed 151 marches and many other pieces of music, including ballets, operettas, inci dental music and variety-show music. Today, Sousa is known more for his marches than anything else. The popular British comedy series “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” uses Sousa’s “Liberty Bell” march for its theme music, which helps point out Sousa’s enduring popularity. Other commonly played marches include “Washington Post,” “U.S. Field Artillery” and “Stars and Stripes Forever.” All of them, including “Liberty Bell,” will be performed at some point during this concert. The 1928 Sousa concert will be recreated because 1998 is the 70th anniversary of the “University of Nebraska” march,not-so-coin cidentally written by Sousa. The “University of Nebraska” march was commissioned during Sousa’s regular Lincoln stop in 1927 and premiered by Sousa’s band in 1928 on its next trip into Lincoln. “The only difference,” Chesnutt said with a smile, “is that when Sousa came into Lincoln in 1928, it was the fall. We’re doing this con cert in the spring because football is just a bit more important now than it was in 1928.” The Lied Center for Performing Arts con cert-event is held every three or four years. The UNL Wind Ensemble was last featured in the Lied Center in 1994. “Every few years, we try to do this type of event because it’s important for our band students to know their heritage and history,” Chesnutt said. “This is a concert that is soaked in history.” This concert-event is twice as long as the typical Symphonic Band concert. It features three conductors (Chesnutt; Jay Kloecker, UNL director of bands; and Lawrence Mallett, direc tor of the UNL School of Music), three soloists, about 10 marches and more than 20 pieces in all. “The Carnival of Venice” is considered the prototypical trumpet solo for band. Jean-Baptiste Arban, composer of “The Carnival of Venice,” is credited as the founder of the modem school of trumpet playing, and exponentially expanded the expectations of all trumpeters by his playing, teaching and composition. “In 1927, ‘The Carnival of Venice’ (fea tured trumpet solo) had been around for awnne in ns original form for orchestra. It was like one of our Top 40 pieces,” Chesnutt said. Darryl White, assistant profes sor of trumpet at UNL, agrees with Chesnutt regarding the rele vance of this piece. ‘“The Carnival of Venice’ is a musically significant work which expanded the technical capabilities of the trumpet,” he said. “It is extremely vir tuosic and demanding.” Trumpeter Vito Speranza will be featured on “The C arnival o f Veni c e. ” Speranza currently serves as an air man in the Heartland of America Band, in r e s i - dence a t Offutt Air Force Base. Speranza earned his bachelor’s degree at Potsdam University in New York and an advanced performance degree from the Conservatorio Di Salerno in Italy. The arias “Ah Fors e Lui” and “Sempre Libera” from “LaTraviata,” woe justifiably famous in 1928. “La Traviata” was composed in 1853 by ^fB^^ Please see SOUSA on 10 MattHaney/DN i m Professor to perform English oboe rarities By Barb Churchill Assignment Reporter William McMullen, associate professor of oboe at UNL, believes strongly in promoting lesser-known musical works written for the oboe. Especially if the works in question are from Great Britain. McMullen used his sabbatical from teach ing last semester to research and perform in Great Britain the works that will appear in his recital Sunday in Kimball Recital Hall. McMullen loves Great Britain for both its strong contribution to Western art music, and on a more personal level. “My father was on sabbatical in Great Britain for half a year when I was in high school, and I wanted to go there again,” McMullen said. “In addition, I’ve played a lot of British repertoire and I wanted to learn more.” McMullen will play four lesser-known works for oboe by four highly-regarded British composers. While doing the research on^hese pieces in Great Britain, he took every opportu nity to study and perform these works. McMullen performed these four pieces 12 times for seven different people while in Great Britain, and also performed them recently in Grand Island during the city’s “Sunday Afternoon Music” recital series. McMullen will perform Herbert Howells’ “Sonata for Oboe and Piano,” Gordon Jacob’s “Seven Bagatelles for Solo Oboe,” Richard Rodney Bennett’s “After Syrinx 1 for Oboe and Piano” and Lennox Berkeley’s “Sonatina for Oboe and Piano.” i , n The most unusual piece on the program is Bennett’s “After Syrinx 1” because it was inspired by the much better-known “Syrinx for Solo Flute” by the French impressionist com poser Claude Debussy. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s pro fessor of flute John Bailey, in an inspired bit of programming, will perform Debussy’s “Syrinx” immediately preceding Bennett’s “After Syrinx 1.” This is an extremely unusual sight in a con ventional classical music recital. McMullen believes this recital will serve a valuable educational purpose. “I enjoy playing recital literature that hasn’t been heard before,” McMullen said. “It’s an educational experience for the students and for the general public. They’ve never heard this music before, and they should enjoy it.” . McMullen’s oboe recital will be held Sunday night at 8. Admission is free.