The Soldier’s Tale
Streaming Free in June
Igor Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale
Streaming: June 4 – July 3
The nationally regarded Fulton Theatre and Lancaster Symphony Orchestra are proud to present Igor Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat (The Soldier’s Tale), which will stream through the FultonHD and LSO At Home virtual platforms. The virtual performance will be available for 30 days, beginning June 4.
The years marked by World War I and the Russian Revolution left Stravinsky isolated in Switzerland and in financial straits. The Soldier’s Tale, a theatre piece conceived and completed by Stravinsky and writer Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz in 1918, was an attempt to fix that. The work called for a small ensemble of musicians and actors and was designed to travel. While the premier proved successful, all hope of a financial blockbuster was crushed as the 1918 influenza pandemic swept the globe, canceling the tour.
Based on a Russian folk tale, the piece unfolds in a series of 11 musical numbers. Stravinsky’s score cleverly highlights intriguing rhythms, changing meters, and a mix of musical styles (Russian folk music, klezmer, military marches and fanfares, waltz, ragtime, tango). While keeping the instrumentation small, Stravinsky captures a broad range of pitch and color by scoring the work for a high and low voice from each orchestral family: violin and bass, clarinet and bassoon, trumpet and trombone, percussion. The instrumental storytellers are joined on stage by professional actors and dancers, taking audiences on a truly entertaining and thought-provoking journey. This collaboration between the Fulton Theatre and the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra will showcase the talents of both organizations.
The Soldier’s Tale tells the story of a young soldier, an everyman figure, marching home on leave. He encounters the devil, who convinces him to exchange his violin (soul) for a magic book that promises unlimited wealth. The soldier agrees and spends three days teaching the devil how to play the violin, but the devil’s tricks continue. As the soldier arrives home, he discovers three years have passed, not three days. All has changed, and life has moved on without him.
In time, the soldier gains the wealth and success the devil promised, but he is alone. He learns of a sick princess who will be given over in marriage to any suitor who can revive her. The soldier seizes the opportunity, wins back his violin from the devil, plays for the princess, and lives happily ever after. Not quite. The devil has placed a curse on his victim, forbidding him to leave the kingdom. The soldier, missing his home, plots to take his new bride to meet his mother. The couple’s journey is interrupted. The devil claims his victory, dancing mischievously while the musicians drop out one by one, leaving a lone drum to echo the soldier’s fate. The narrator’s words hit home: “No one can have it all; That is forbidden. You must learn to choose between.”
This amusing yet poignant tale is told by Randy Jeter as the story’s Narrator & Devil, Alex Hayden Miller as the Soldier & Choreographer, and dancers Brian Binion & Kelly Liz Bolick.
Lead by guest conductor Michael Repper, the performance will feature seven Principal LSO musicians: Luigi Mazzocchi, Violin; Brent Edmondson, Bass; Luis Engelke, Trumpet; David Sciannella, Trombone; Doris Hall-Gulati, Clarinet; Robin Plant, Bassoon; and Thomas Blanchard, Percussion.
The creative team for the production includes Marc Robin (Director; Fulton’s Executive Artistic Producer) and Guy McIntosh (LSO’s Executive Director).
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