‘The Soldier’s Tale’ as told by UW-W

March 12, 2014

By Lea Staedtler


The Music and Theatre Departments have collaborated to perform a classical theatrical performance of “The Soldier’s Tale.”


“The Soldier’s Tale,” is a classic piece by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky from 1918. It tells the story of a young soldier on leave, who encounters the devil on his way home. The devil strikes a deal with him and exchanges a book that tells the future for the soldier’s fiddle. Although the soldier gains great wealth with the help of the book, he does not find happiness. He seeks out the devil and challenges him in a poker game to reclaim his fiddle and be happy once again.

The play will be held at 7:30 p.m. on March 18, in the Light Recital Hall.

Because Stravinsky’s piece was written for musicians, actors and a narrator, percussion professor Tobie Wilkinson approached Theatre Department member Jim Butchart to be the narrator in the production.

Butchart said the storyline appealed to him right away.

“It’s an interesting story told in an unusual way with music and narration,” Butchart said. “The music is very varied and interesting.”


“The Soldier’s Tale” is the fifth installment this academic year in the Music Mosaics series. Wilkinson has been the driving force in putting together this production.

“‘The Soldier’s Tale’ is an amazing piece by Igor Stravinsky that I’ve wanted to present at UW-W since I came here in 2002,” Wilkinson said. “As a percussionist, it’s one of those pieces we always want to perform at least once in our life.”

Butchart chose theatre majors Peter Brian Kelly and Jennifer Samson to play the soldier and the devil, respectively, because he thought the parts fit them well.

“I had done the part before, and I thought it would be a good opportunity for students both in the audience and on stage,” Butchart said.

Wilkinson said he enjoyed the collaboration with the Theatre Department.

“The most exciting part is being able to share the stage with my amazing colleagues for this great work, coupled with the great story associated with the piece,” Wilkinson said.

The instruments used in the performance are violin, bass, bassoon, clarinet, trumpet, trombone and percussion, and are all played by faculty from the music department.

Leslie LaMuro, associate director for public events, said the music in “The Soldier’s Tale” makes the piece unique.


“The music was influenced by American Jazz and Tango, so for something in 1918 to have that sort of musical influence is remarkable,” LaMuro said. “It adds an interesting air to it.”

The Music Mosaics series is one of few occasions students get to see fellow students collaborate with faculty members on stage.

“Seeing faculty involved is always very interesting for students,” LaMuro said. “It’s something that is not often done because it’s combining different music styles with acting, which is always a unique route to go.”

Prices for the performance are $3 for students and people under 18, $6 for over 65 and $7 for the general public. All proceeds will go toward a scholarship fund for students in the Music Department.