Symphony, dancers bring ‘Peter and the Wolf’ to life

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Patrick Wolford of Noble Dance plays the wolf in "Peter and the Wolf." The Kalispell Dance Company and Glacier Symphony will perform the symphonic fairy tale Jan. 19 and 20.

Glacier Symphony brings Serge Prokofiev’s symphonic fairy tale “Peter and the Wolf” to concert halls in Whitefish and Kalispell this month.

In addition to music performed by the symphony, costumed dancers from Kalispell’s Noble Dance will interpret the piece, which was written to introduce children to the sounds of the instruments of the orchestra. Nancy Nei, former artistic director at Whitefish Theatre Company, will narrate.

The concert opens with “Troika,” a rousing sleigh ride movement from Prokofiev’s “Lieutenant Kije” music. It is followed by Beethoven’s “Prometheus Overture” drawn from a portion of a ballet that was one of his first works for the stage. The first half will end with “Trumpet Concerto,” a new work by Glacier Symphony and Chorale music director John Zoltek.

Zoltek composed this piece specifically for the young trumpet virtuoso, Natalie Dungey, who will perform. Zoltek was inspired to write the piece after Dungey’s appearance in the 2011 Festival Amadeus in Whitefish, where the then-12-year-old stunned audiences with musicianship far beyond her years.

Zoltek explained that when he composed the work for Dungey, he hoped to capture and express a sense of youthful innocence, play and exuberance, while still allowing for a bit of technical concerto flash. He added that “Trumpet Concerto” evokes an atmosphere of winter sounds with its clear orchestration, clean lines and almost brittle lyricism.

“This is especially true of the Prelude,” Zoltek said in a news release from the symphony. “The second movement Toccata is an icy and chilling-sounding technical maze for the soloist. It will be an exciting conclusion and contrast to the serenity of the Prelude.

“The piece will be an excellent vehicle for the young Dungey’s trumpeting technique and artistry.”

 

The second half of the concert features the costumed Noble dancers performing the characters of “Peter and the Wolf.” Choreographed by instructor Natalie Molter, the company will interpret the classic story about the Russian boy Peter, who sneaks out of his yard into the forest against his grandfather’s wishes. While in the woods he befriends a bird, a duck and a cat and confronts a wily wolf. Instruments in the orchestra represent each character while the narrator tells the vivid story that has long been loved by children and adults for its sense of humor and good-natured tunefulness.

“Our excitement is very high for this production,” Molter said. “Dancing to a live symphony is such a privilege and valuable experience to every dancer. We are so glad to have this opportunity in the Flathead.”

Noble Dance was formed in 2011 as a tool to introduce the Flathead Valley’s most disciplined and experienced dancers to classical ballet and contemporary dance. Molter partners with Carol Brannan Sullivan to operate the Storybook Ballet School, which has premiered multiple new works and original works along with timeless favorites like “Peter and the Wolf” and “Les Patineurs.”

More information is available at www.nobledance.org.

 Performances of “Peter and the Wolf” will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Whitefish Performing Arts Center and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Flathead High School performance hall in Kalispell.

Tickets are available in a range of prices and seating tiers. All youths through grade 12 are admitted free to these concerts.

Call Glacier Symphony and Chorale to reserve student seats. To purchase tickets, call the symphony office at 257-3241 or buy online at www.gscmusic.org.

Lilly Sherman of Whitefish, right, plays Peter in Noble Dance's interpretation of "Peter and the Wolf," as performed by Glacier Symphony. Alice Green of Bigfork plays The Bird, left, and Elizabeth Sullivan of Kalispell plays The Cat, front.

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