The Georgia State University School of Film, Media & Theatre and School of Music present Histoire du soldat (a multi-disciplinary work for chamber orchestra, narrator, actors and dancers). GSU University Players, under the direction of Dr. W. Keith Tims, accompanied by GSU faculty musicians will stage Igor Stravinsky’s Histoire du soldat (The Soldier’s Tale) on the occasion of this seminal work’s 100th anniversary.
The Soldier’s Tale is a theatrical work “to be read, played, and danced” by three actors, dancer(s), and accompanied by a septet of instruments. The piece was conceived by Igor Stravinsky and Swiss writer C. F. Ramuz and is based on a Russian folk tale The Runaway Soldier and the Devil. The libretto relates the parable of a soldier who trades his fiddle to the devil in return for unlimited economic gain. The music is scored for a violin, double bass, clarinet, bassoon, cornet, trombone, and percussion, and the story is told by three actors: the soldier, the devil, and a narrator, who also takes on the roles of minor characters. A dancer plays the non-speaking role of the princess.
Igor Stravinsky wrote The Soldier’s Tale during World War I when he was in exile in Switzerland. Stravinsky had already made a big splash in the musical world with his earlier trio of large-scale ballet works The Firebird, Petrushka, and the infamous The Rite of Spring, all of which were in collaboration with the famous Ballet Russes in Paris. Because of the composer’s exile and the economic restrictions that accompanied WWI, The Soldier’s Tale (1918) is a much more modest composition in terms of personnel, but it is a evening-length theatrical work lasting about 1 hr. and 15 minutes. It is a work on par with his other theatrical works and is known as a masterpiece of the early 20th Century avant-garde.
The Soldier’s Tale requires seven instrumentalists (School of Music faculty and special guest artists), narrator/actor (Rick Clement, School of Music faculty member), two actors (GSU student players), and dancer, (Jillian Mitchell of Kit Modus dance). Dr. W. Keith Tims will be staging the production, and Dr. Stuart Gerber will be the musical director. We are excited about the collaborative nature of this undertaking.