Arts & Culture

Emerald City remains on the edge as it launches 4th season with Stravinsky reimagined

“Tale Retold” is a reimagining of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Soldier’s Tale,” retold by Grammy- and Pulitzer-winning librettist Mark Campbell and Emmy-winning choreographer Joshua Bergasse. Much of the tale, about a soldier on leave who trades his fiddle to the devil, will be told through dance.
“Tale Retold” is a reimagining of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Soldier’s Tale,” retold by Grammy- and Pulitzer-winning librettist Mark Campbell and Emmy-winning choreographer Joshua Bergasse. Much of the tale, about a soldier on leave who trades his fiddle to the devil, will be told through dance. Courtesy of Emerald City Music

Emerald City Music’s fourth season has a few surprises in store — and that’s no surprise.

The Olympia and Seattle chamber-music series, starting its season Saturday with a world premiere and a fresh take on Igor Stravinsky’s “A Soldier’s Tale,” has become known for approaching classical music with a spirit of adventure.

Last season, the series hosted its first folk band, The Dreamers’ Circus, and presented Steve Reich’s rarely performed minimalist classic “Music for 18 Musicians.” The latter sold out, so the Emerald City iconoclasts added seats — right on stage, behind the musicians.

“Last year, we had the biggest crowds we’ve seen in Olympia,” said Emerald City executive director Andrew Goldstein, adding that South Sound audiences seem most excited about the more eclectic and unusual offerings.

Saturday’s “Tale Retold” features the world-premiere production of the reimagined “The Soldier’s Tale,” retold by Grammy- and Pulitzer-winning librettist Mark Campbell and Emmy-winning choreographer Joshua Bergasse. Much of the tale, about a soldier on leave who trades his fiddle to the devil, will be told through dance.

Stravinsky’s original tale was written to be performed with dancers and a narrator. “The twist that we are bringing to our performance is that we have a new script by Mark Campbell — best known for his libretto for ‘The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs’ — where he omits the narration and turns the dancers into actors,” Emerald City artistic director Kristin Lee told The Olympian.

The updated “Tale,” set just after the Civil War, was created in collaboration with the Moab Music Festival, where it premiered last weekend. Lee has performed for three years at the festival in Moab, Utah, and is the violinist for the piece.

Also on Saturday’s program is the world premiere of Seattle composer Angelique Poteat’s “Her Story of a Soldier.” Poteat’s piece, which also includes dancers, tells the story of women’s battle to enlist in the U.S. armed forces and find their place in what had long been a man’s world.

The season also offers a program of violin and classical guitar featuring Grammy winner Jason Vieaux (Dec. 14), a world premiere by Philadelphia composer Patrick Castillo (May 2) and — for those who aren’t too fearful — a lights-out performance of Georg Friedrich Haas’ “In iij. Noct” (Nov. 2).

“Listeners with heart conditions or other health concerns should be advised,” the Emerald City Music website warns.

‘Tale Retold’

  • What: Emerald City Music launches its fourth season Saturday in Olympia with a program of music and dance featuring a world premiere by Seattle composer Angelique Poteat and a reimagining of Stravinsky’s “The Soldier’s Tale.”
  • Where: The Minnaert Center for the Arts, 2011 Mottman Road SW, Olympia
  • Tickets: $28-$43, $23 for seniors, $10 for students
  • More information: 360-753-8586, emeraldcitymusic.org

The rest of the season

Those planning to attend at least three shows can save on tickets with a season subscription package.

  • In the Dark — 7:30 p.m. Nov. 2, The Black Box at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 512 Washington St. SE, Olympia
  • Jason Vieaux & Kristin Lee — 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14, The Olympia Ballroom, 116 Legion Way SE, Olympia
  • Aizuri Quartet — 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Washington Center
  • Evolution — 7:30 p.m. March 28 at the Minnaert Center
  • What You Are to Me — 7:30 p.m. May 2 at the Minnaert Center
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