Peter and the Wolf, and the Twisted Alice Story with the PSO

SERGEI PROKOFIEV’S PETER AND THE WOLF

In the opening section of the program we were treated with a lighthearted and humorous performance of Peter Leo’s adaption of Peter and the Wolf with David Conrad as the narrator.

David Conrad added much to the adventure of this much-modernized tale with incidents that we as 21st century dwellers experience and could certainly relate with. The dialogue formed such a visual scene; you could imagine yourself as a by-stander at the events of Peter. You were hanging on every word as the tale unfolded accompanied by the characters in Prokofiev’s mesmerizing score.

Now to the second and main part of the program . . .

“TWISTED” STORYBOOK FAVORITES WITH THE PSO

Wow! Where to begin with the past evening experience at the transformed Heinz Hall? The setting was enough to take you with Alice on her adventure down the rabbit hole, let alone the performance. The stage wrapped in an acoustically transparent screen was used to show projections that accompanied composer David del Tredici’s incredible work of “Final Alice”. The colorful projections, the orchestra and music they fabulously presented, the lighting, Ms. Hila Plitmann – so much for the eyes and mind to take in. Hila Plitmann did a wonderful job in presenting a drama through Alice’s eyes, as she did in transitioning from speaking parts to singing, as well with the range the piece held. Her dulcet voice sent chills through me. The Aria V: Acrostic Song I must say was my favorite, as I was humming it all day today. David del Tredici’s work was a treat to listen to, but I imagine “easier said than done” for the musicians of the PSO to play at the fast tempos fitting in thousands of notes.

I’ve recently taken to reading the program notes before the performance to hopefully get a better understanding about the work being played, the composer etc. and why it is what it is. When I first heard about “Twisted Storybook Favorites” I wondered, what could be so twisted about it? I was thinking more along the lines of Tim Burton’s new adaption of Alice in Wonderland. But, after I read Marah Gubar’s, (Director of Children’s Literature program and faculty at the University of Pittsburgh) article in the program entitled “Lewis Carroll and the Cult of the Child” it became quite clear to me why the show was rated more for a mature audience for the reason behind Alice in Wonderland as we know it, or should I say thought we knew it. I for one was enlightened to the inspiration for Alice in Wonderland and “The Cult of the Child”.

I must say both sections of the concert were very enjoyable. This performance was much anticipated and quite whimsical.

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May 7