Peter and the Wolf

Composed and written by Sergei Prokofiev

Choreography: Ruth Egerton-Stein

Drop curtain designed by Nicholai Benois for Peter and the Wolf, La Scala, Milan production, 1949

Drop curtain designed by Nicholai Benois for Peter and the Wolf, La Scala, Milan production, 1949

Now in its 80th year, Peter and the Wolf continues to delight both children and adults alike. The enchanting musical fairy tale, composed and written by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) in 1936, originated as a project to open the new Children’s Theatre in Moscow.

The idea was to familiarise children with the instruments of the orchestra. Each character in the story is identified with a particular instrument and musical theme. The Bird’s theme is played by a Flute, the Duck’s theme is played by an Oboe, the Cat’s theme is played by a Clarinet, the Grandfather’s theme is played by the Bassoon, the Wolf’s theme is played by French Horns, the Hunter’s theme is played by the Timpani Drums and, Peter’s theme is played by the Strings of the orchestra.

Synopsis

The story takes place in the meadow surrounding Peter’s house. Despite his Grandfathers warnings of the dangers of wolves, Peter and his friends, a Bird and a Duck, go into the meadow to play.  The Bird argues with the Duck, while she is swimming in the pond about which of them is the better type of bird!  Seeing his opportunity, the cat tries to grab the bird but fails.

Grandfather, discovering Peter on the meadow, warns him again about the Wolf, takes him home, and locks the gate. No sooner than Peter and his Grandfather leave, the Wolf comes out of the forest. The Wolf catches the Duck and swallows her! Then he turns his attention to the Cat and the Bird, who have escaped into a tree.

Peter, watching all of this, makes a plan to capture the Wolf. Together Peter and the Bird lasso the Wolf with a rope.  As the hunters arrive, Peter asks them to help him take the Wolf to the zoo.  In celebration, everyone parades the Wolf towards his new home.