L’HISTOIRE DU SOLDAT by Stravinsky
L’HISTOIRE DU SOLDAT
by Igor Stravinskji
Nuova creazione ispirata all’omonima opera da camera di Igor Stravinsky
Teatro Goldoni, 2017 May 27th
Review Fabio Bardelli, photos Michele Borzoni Terraproject-Contrasto
FIRENZE/ITALY: “L’histoire du soldat, to read, play and dance in two parts”: so the author named this original composition written in collaboration with Swiss writer Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz.
It is not an opera or a ballet strictu sensu, the music is written for a small chamber orchestra which includes only violin, double bass, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone and percussion, and are also involved a narrator, a soldier, the Devil, and the Princess who is a dancer not a singer.Therefore it is almost a challenge to “actual forms”, a real ante litteram“multimedia show” written for an itinerant theatrical company at the time of World War One, and also a musical challenge given the scarcity of instruments used by Stravinskji in this occasion, with a bare dry essential music and the important novelty of discovering American jazz. A creativity that leads to sensational result, being this little composition one of the most fascinating in the whole Stravisnkji’s production.
Drawing inspiration from this basic material South African but with evident Italian origins director Alessandro Talevi (in Florence we remember with great pleasure his staging of The love of the three melarances by Prokofiev and Albert Herring by Britten staged in recent years) makes a very interesting but with some limitation operation, with the collaboration in dramaturgy, so we can suppose an important one, of Kara McKechnie.
Mr Talevi is really a great theater man, full of ideas, inventive (sometimes even too much) and interpretive skills, and this time seems to overload a little too much text and music so that the original L’histore du soldat by Stravinskji is almost drowned in musical excerpts also by other authors.
One of the essential components of this page by Stravinsky seems so to be lacking in this staging, the poverty of means, of plot, of purposes, by which to assert that war as a disaster for humanity. As said L’histoire du soldat was written to be carried around with a company of very few musicians, and Mr Talevi seems to have unnecessarily plethorized it about the means to achieve the overall sense of the work, surely also in order to make a complete performance of the duration of an entire evening, in fact it lasts an hour and a half with no intermission.
Straviskji is little more than a pretext for a reflection on the madness of war, but needless to say that this performance itself is beautifully constructed from all points of view, with essential scenes, very good acting, very accurate light designing, beautiful costumes (even the musicians of orchestra are dressed as soldiers and at the end they are even killed!) and all the interpreters are great above all Alex Blake as the Devil.
The young English conductor Alpesh Chauhan seems to be particularly at ease in essential Stravinskji’s writing, which here for directive and dramatic needs is interpolated with other music, and conducts a very close set of splendid instruments of the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino having as first violin Domenico Pierini.
The large audience gave to everyone a very warm success.
Direttore, Alpesh Chauhan
Regia, Alessandro Talevi
Drammaturgia, Kara McKechnie
Scene e costumi, Madeleine Boyd
Videoproiezioni, Marco Grassivaro
Sound, Andrea Baggio
Movimenti coreografici, Anna Maria Bruzzese
Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
Soldato, Martin Bassindale
Diavolo, Alex Blake
Narratore, Benjamin Victor
Principessa, Chiara Mogini