Peter & The Wolf
Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Wed 26 & Thu 27 Mar
DANCE & CLASSICAL MUSIC
To young ears, an orchestra can seem like a giant melting pot of sound. And picking out which instrument is playing when is a rather tricky affair. Which is why Sergei Prokofiev’s 1936 composition, Peter and the Wolf is seen as the perfect introduction to classical music. As Peter journeys through the forest, each character is defined by an instrument – from a cat-like clarinet to the graceful flute of the bird.
Over 70 years later, a new production has added a twist to this popular score – contemporary dance. It’s also gained a first half, or ‘prequel’, set to new music by Philip Feeney and choreographed by Didy Feldman, plus live narration by actor Brian Blessed. Strict rules govern what can and can’t be done with Prokofiev’s score, but the composer’s grandson, Gabriel Prokofiev, is happy with this new venture.
‘The show has two separate halves and has allowed Peter & The Wolf to become a full-length show,’ he says. ‘Which is great because the piece kind of gets neglected because of its short length. And obviously they’re doing a dance version, which adds a whole other level to it that’s really great fun.’ For Prokofiev Jnr, also a composer, Peter and the Wolf helped him make sense of orchestration and fostered his love of classical music.
‘Most people who have listened to classical music take for granted the fact that they know all the instruments,’ says Prokofiev. ‘But I can remember going to an orchestral concert with my mum when I was young and her having to point out when the trumpets were doing something etc. Whereas with this you’re guided from the beginning, so it’s a really ingenious idea.’