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Saturday, November 3, 2018, 7:30 PM
Sunday, November 4, 2018, 7:30 PM
Monday, November 5, 2018, 7:30 PM

Arlene Schnitzer Hall
1037 SW Broadway
Portland OR 97205


The tale of Petrushka comes to life with exhilarating stage creations by Doug Fitch, weaving together themes of love, loneliness, and brutality, all set against the hustle and bustle of St. Petersburg’s Shrovetide Fair. Classical Series Concert

Norman Huynh, conductor
Doug Fitch, creative director

Haydn: Symphony No. 103, “Drumroll”
Walton: Johannesburg Festival Overture
Honegger: Pastorale d’été
Stravinsky: Petrushka (1947 version)

It’s set in St. Petersburg, Russia, in the 1830s. The Shrovetide Fair (basically, Russian Mardi Gras) is underway. There are noisy carnival barkers in brightly colored booths, a Ferris wheel, a carousel, and of course, a puppet theater. The street is filled with the sounds of drunken hucksters, the whirling squeal of a street organ, and the smell of cotton candy. (Did they have cotton candy in 1830s Russia? Let’s say they did.)

Off to the side, the curtain of the puppet theater rises, revealing three puppets hanging on a wall: a dashing Moor, bedecked in a turban and pantaloons; a petite and pretty ballerina, and a clumsy, awkward little runt of a doll named Petrushka. The magician waves a flute like a magic wand, taps each puppet with it, and they begin to dance.

This is where things get complicated.

Like the late-blooming high school nerd who has a crush on the cheerleader, who, in turn, has a crush on the captain of the football team, Petrushka is twitterpated with the ballerina from the get-go. But his scrawny puppet body of straw and sawdust is no match for the swashbuckling moor, whose dark features and graceful moves have (literally) swept the ballerina off her feet.

This is not a story where the underdog gets the girl.

To make a long story short, there’s a duel. Petrushka dies, but his ghost comes back to torment his magician puppet maker, who he damns for giving him life in the first place. If ONLY he could have stayed a puppet!

The music, laden with Russian folk tunes and brimming with atmosphere, was set to the choreography of one of the best ballet impresarios who ever lived. Critics often regard Petrushka as a perfect fusion of music, ballet, choreography, and history.”

~Houston Public Media

Stravinsky, Petrushka - Part of A Dancer's Dream here New York Philharmonic Alan Gilbert musical direction Giants Are Small (A Production Created by) A Dancer's Dream, project recorded in June 2013 at the Avery Fisher Hall (New York, USA).