As a family friendly February shapes up to offer all forms of entertainment, the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra throws its hat in the ring with an afternoon matinée of Peter and the Wolf.
Playing this Saturday, the weekend after B.C.’s first official Family Day, the symphony will deliver an adaptation of Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, a musical originally commissioned by the Central Children’s Theatre in Moscow to help foster appreciation for music.
“The traditional Prokofiev is what I grew up with, my parents grew up with, my grandparents would have grown up with,” said Rosemary Thomson, the ever-progressive music director and conductor of the orchestra who seems to be defining her tenure in the position by building partnerships.
“I think it’s a way to create community…and to share audience and to really embrace what the Okaangan has to offer,” said Thomson, who spent Christmas working on both the orchestra’s Christmas performance and a local production of The Sound of Music, a collaboration with opera singer Melina Moore.
In this particular case, the connection she’s made is with Tracy Ross of Bumbershoot Theatre, a troupe she’s been taking her own children to visit since shortly after the family’s arrival in the valley seven years ago.
Perhaps best known for its workshops for kids, Bumbershoot Theatre was created in 2009 and stages four productions per year using experienced adult actors to perform story lines appropriate for children.
The adaptation of Peter and the Wolf the little theatre company and the orchestra will work from was written by composer Hummie Mann, who integrated humorous songs into the story, but kept the original concept of having each theatrical role represented by an instrument.
The violin is thus the intrepid young Peter and the French horn the dark and dangerous Wolf, who slowly reveals his furry nature, creeping into the story so the other characters don’t immediately see him as an animal
“The Wolf becomes wolfier and wolfier,” said Thomson, noting his hair slowly starts to peak through, his fangs eventually begin to show as the performance unfolds.
This is going to be an audience participation afternoon and the Wolf represents the crux of what makes this particular version so unique.
Just don’t expect to leave without a little ditty running through your head, like:
“We’re going to make him give up protein. We’re going to feed him Lean Cuisine.”
Unlike many forms of live entertainment this season, the OSO’s ticket sales are solid. In Kelowna, performances remain 85 to 90 per cent sold out and the Christmas concerts across the valley—Penticton, Kelowna and Vernon—did sell out.
To find out whether the new vegetarian wolf has a duck quacking in his stomach or a grandfather quaking in his boots, come out to the OSO’s family performance and enjoy a serenade by some of the valley’s top musicians.
Tickets for this Saturday, Feb. 16 matinée at 2 p.m. can be obtained through okanagansymphony.com.