There may be no better commemoration of the centenary of the outbreak of World War I than a fully staged presentation of Stravinsky's musical drama The Soldier's Tale. The chamber work, which is scored for seven instruments (clarinet, bassoon, cornet, trombone, violin, double bass and percussion) will be presented in a brand-new translation from the French by the Yale in New York program at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall April 6, as well as in preview at Yale itself on April. 1.
The uncommon production is being directed by Liz Diamond, who did the translation. The Obie - Award winning resident director at Yale Repertory Theatre and chair of the directing department at Yale School of Drama.
Leading the performance is David Shifrin, the Yale School of Muisc faculty member and noted clarinetist, who has enlisted faculty member Ani Kavafian on violin and five students, who round out the ensemble.
In the lead role of The Reader is Michael Cerveris, the versatile actor who won a Tony for his role in Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins and has been nominated for other Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle awards.
"David Shifrin and I envision this production as a music/dance chamber theatre piece, in which the playfully rhyming poetry of the libretto, and movement and dance (from ballet to hip hop) will collide and combine, much as the lyrical and ironic modes of the music do," said Diamond.
The Soldier's Tale tells the bittersweet story of a common soldier's thwarted homecoming at the hands of The Devil. Written in collaboration with Swiss librettist C.F. Ramuz, it has an eclectic score that ranges from modernist to jazzy, classical to folk. It was created during one of the most trying periods of Stravinsky's lifetime, as he was struggling financially and distressed by the strife occurring in his homeland. The narrative mirrors Stravinsky's own inability to return home (due to border restrictions after the Revolution) despite his successes abroad.