April 22nd, 2011

Jane Eyre

On Saturday the 17th, we caught a matinee of the new "Jane Eyre" film and were very pleased with it. We both thought Mia Wasikowska was perfectly cast as Jane, and Michael Fassbender also excellent in the role of Rochester. Since the two of them essentially carry the movie, this was of vital importance and worked out very well. We thought the screenplay adaptation by Moira Buffini to be the definitive version of Charlotte Bronte's ground-breaking novel so far, even though the movie starts with the weeping Jane's flight from Northfield, and the story is then told largely in flashback until events catch up.

The production looks just right in settings, clothing, and lighting, with the dim wintry rooms of Northfield being very effective. There was also an excellent supporting cast, lead by Dame Judi Dench as Mrs. Fairfax, and Jamie Bell as St. John Rivers.

Highly recommended for fans of Bronte, gothics, romances, or period pieces generally.

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Cream City Chorus: "The Creators: Heroes of the Imagination"

On Saturday evening April 16th, we went to the Unitarian Universalist Church West for the Cream City Chorus' spring concert, titled "The Creators: Heroes of the Imagination." As usual, it was a very enjoyable concert, although not without some glitches.

The show was divided into three acts, each taking a different aspect of the creative experience. Act 1, "Soundtrack of our Lives" dealt with music that had had meaning in peoples lives, and included such disparate pieces as Copeland's Fanfare for the Common Man; Don't Go Braking My Heart; Mack the Knife; We Will Rock You; and America the Beautiful, among others. A really notable song in this section was the finale, "Blessing," sung with great sentiment by Hillary Giffen.

Act 2, "Made By Hand," celebrated the makers, with songs such as The Flagmaker; The Mason; and Miss Celie's Pants. We were pleased to hear Emory Churness sing The Mason again, having heard him do this lovely piece years ago. Miss Celie's Pants was a very lively and fun song as well.

Act 3, "From Page to Stage" focused on pieces from musical adaptations of literary works, such as A Tale of Two Cities, Jeykll & Hyde, Scarlet Pimpernel, and Les Miserables, with "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd" as an encore. Since we do like stage musicals a lot,  this was our favorite section of the show.

Overall, the works were well sung and presented in an exhilarating manner, with the singers sporting parts of thematic costume, and some minimal stage business. We did, however, think that the show might have been a bit under-rehearsed, with several fluffed lyrics, the most notable being a sizeable gap in "Into the Fire." We weren't sure if the singer fleeing the stage instead of delivering "I, Don Quixote" was a gag or not. And, there were some problems with the acoustics. The grand piano can overpower everything in that hall, so it's a poor idea to put singers with less powerful voices upstage of it, especially when the small body mikes don't pick up as well as the handheld units.

The Cream City Chorus continues to present earnest, honest, enjoyable programs, and we will continue to follow their work. This entry was originally posted at http://sinister-sigils.dreamwidth.org/181577.html. Please comment there using OpenID.