Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (April 21, 1999)
ABOVE: Bryce Weber (right), who plays Jack
Point, suffers a broken heart at the hands of
Melissa Wallner, who plays Elise Maynard, in
“Yeomen of the Guard.” RIGHT: Joey Lott, who
plays Fairfax, holds the heart and attention of
Joye Johnson, who plays Phoebe.
Yeomen’ an artistic compromise
By Liza Holtmeier
Senior staff writer
Gilbert and Sullivan’s penchant
for wild plots and catchy tunes takes
The venerable pair, responsible
for 19th-century operettas such as
“Pirates of Penzance” and “H.M.S.
Pinafore,” made a trade-off when col
laborating on “Yeomen of the
This opera, which opens tonight
in the Howell Theatre, combines
William S. Gilbert’s fantastic story
line with Sir Arthur Sullivan’s need
for serious material.
William Shomos, the director of
the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
production, said Sullivan always
wanted to compose serious music.
He realized, however, he still had
to pay the bills. Frustrated with the
light material he and Gilbert usually
collaborated on, Shomos said,
Sullivan reached a compromise with
Gilbert in “Yeomen of the Guard.”
“Gilbert was actually wanting to
go in the opposite direction with a
wildly ridiculous plot,” Shomos said.
“Sullivan created a libretto with real
people and this tragic ending.”
In Act I, Colonel Fairfax sits
imprisoned in the Tower of London,
falsely accused of being a sorcerer.
What: “Yeomen of the Guard"
Where: Howell Theatre, Temple Building
When: Tonight at 8 through Saturday; 2
p.m. and 8 p.m. Sunday
Cost: $7 for students, $11 for general
The Sldnny: Gilbert and Suivan operetta
combines comic plot with tragic twist
Hoping to save his tortune from the
hands of his accuser, Fairfax marries
a traveling performer named Elsie for
the price of a hundred crowns.
Elsie’s suitor and fellow per
former, Jack Point, laments the fate
of his beloved but consoles himself
with the knowledge that the prisoner
will soon be dead. Much to his sur
prise, Fairfax escapes.
In Act II, Fairfax, disguised as a
man named Leonard, resolves to woo
his new bride and test her fidelity.
Meanwhile, Jack Point devises a
scheme to free Elsie from her mar
riage vows so he can marry her him
As Elsie professes her love for
Leonard (a.k.a. Fairfax), news arrives
of Fairfax’s pardon. Elsie bemoans
her cruel fate but then rejoices upon
discovering her beloved Leonard is
Fairfax in disguise.
The final joyous scene of the cou
ple’s happy reunion is punctured by
Jack’s cries of despair. Heart-broken,
the unlucky jester falls at their feet.
“It has a lot of humor in it, but it’s
really a sad story,” said Bryce Weber,
who plays Jack Point. “In the end, the
guy who could get any woman wins,
as opposed to the guy who could only
get, and only wants, one woman.”
Overall, though, the operetta
retains the light, bright tone for which
Gilbert and Sullivan,are known.
Despite Jack’s sad fate, audience
members are still likely to walk away
humming the show’s tunes.
Duke Ellington had as many
roles in music as actors have in film
careers. But he always played him
He was an arranger, composer and band
leader who pioneered innovations in jazz and
dabbled in film scoring, classical and pop.
And just over a century after his birth, the
Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra is
presenting a retrospective of his varied
‘If anybody could be said to be a
Renaissance man, it would have to
be Duke Ellington,” said
uavia tsaKer, airector
■ of the orchestra, which
■ will be performing at the
m Lied Center for
| Performing Arts on April
Baker, who teaches a
course on Ellington at
Indiana University, assembled the orchestra.
The 17 players composing the orchestra have
worked with an impressive array of jazz leg
ends such as Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis,
Tito Puente and Wynton Marsalis. The musi
cians range in age from their early 20s to
their late 70s. Joe Wilder, the oldest member
of the band, has played with Ellington,
Gillespie, Davis and Michel Legrand.
“Wilder is one of those players Who,
when you hear two notes, you know that it’s
him,” Baker said.
Baker called the orchestra an “all-star
band,” but he said egos haven’t been a prob
“The band willingly came together.
We’re in the business of serving the music.”
Baker has been serving the music for
years. He has also conducted retrospectives
of Miles Davis and Gil Evans’ collabora
tions, Thelonious Monk and a celebration of
Jewish-American and African-American
composers. Artie Shaw was in the audience
at the latter show, and he told Baker he was
thrilled with the interpretation of his music.
Interpretation is key for a true Ellington
ns Facts '^PP
What: Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra:
A Tribute to Duke Ellington
? Where: Lied Center for Performing Arts, 301 N.
When: Saturday, 8 p.m.
Cost: $28, $24, $20 and half-price for students
The Skinny: Jazz orchestra celebrates birthday
of a legend
performance, Baker said.
“We’re very faithful to the arrangement,”
he said. “We try to posit in our music the
parameters of the time, but speaking in our
He said Ellington pu't his own personal
ity in his interpretations of others’ works,
and that’s what his orchestra tries to do.
Please see DUKE on 13
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