“Keep guard over your EYES AND EARS as the inlets of your heart …” — Anne Bronte

By - Sep 1st, 2007 02:52 pm
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The percussion of two eyelids meeting during a blink is not audible to the human ear, which consists of fibro-elastic cartilage covered with skin and fine hairs. In contrast to the eyes, the ears are always working. Visual reality is limited to a single, blinking field of vision and sight requires the tireless work of the ears to give it direction. Thus sight is aided by the ears, but rarely are the two given equal attention onstage.

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra will address the disparity between sight and hearing this season by presenting two concerts featuring music written specifically for the eyes. In April, the MSO performs the score to Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights as the film is projected overhead at The Marcus Center. Earlier on, the MSO will perform a special Halloween concert featuring scores written for Alfred Hitchcock films. Hitchcock worked with such influential film composers as Bernard Hermann, Dimitri Tiomkin and Franz Waxman, so this could be profoundly good. The work of another composer who wrote largely for the eye will be included on a concert at the Wilson Center in September as visually appealing Grammy-nominated vocalist Monica Mancini performs on the 15th. Included will be songs written by her father Henry, who wrote scores for over a hundred films in his lifetime (The Glenn Miller Story, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Pink Panther ). Monica will perform some of her father’s songs (such as “Moon River” and “Dear Heart” ) to clips of the films in which they appeared.

In the realm of more contemporary film music, The Waukesha Symphony Orchestra will present Corigliano’s Suite for Violin and Orchestra from his Academy Award-winning score to The Red Violin. The WSO will be joined by American virtuoso Maria Bachman – one of Corigliano’s favorite violinists. In a similar hybrid of film and music, The Skylight Opera closes its season with Nine: The Musical. Written by Maury Yeston and Arthur Kopit, this Broadway hit is an oddly skewed adaptation of film legend Frederico Fellini’s autobiographical masterpiece 8½. The musical adaptation of Fellini’s highly surrealistic and self-referential film may seem like something of a curiosity, but the show was a big hit on Broadway. The Skylight has a flair for putting together visually appealing presentations, so it will be interesting to see how they render what should prove to be a very interesting evening of musical theatre.

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