Music fans will have two chances this month to hear and see The Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra and First Folio Theater perform together for the first time.
The performances of Igor Stravinsky's "A Soldier's Tale" are at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 31st St., Oak Brook; and 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26, at Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church, 149 W. Brush Hill Road, Elmhurst.
The shows are conducted by ESO Music Director Stephen Alltop and tell the story of a soldier, the devil and a mysterious violin.
The program at Mayslake also features three solo performances by members of the symphony. Concertmaster Rika Seko will perform Sergei Prokofiev's "Sonata for Violin, Op. 115," and principal bass Alison Gaines will perform an unaccompanied piece by Tom Johnson, "Failing: A Very Difficult Piece for Bass," that involves speaking and singing. Clarinetist Andrea D'Iorio rounds out the program with "Three Pieces for Clarinet" by Stravinsky, also unaccompanied.
At the church concert, "A Soldier's Tale" is paired with Piotr Ilych Tchaikovsky's "Serenade for Strings." The piece for traditional string orchestra was a great success when it premiered in 1881 and its second movement waltz has been called prime Tchaikovsky and one of his best melodies.
"The Soldier's Tale" is described as a theater piece "to be read, played and danced," with actors portraying the narrator, the soldier and the devil, and a score that features solos for each ensemble member.
Stravinsky's work was conceived during World War I, inspired by Russian stories about a soldier who tricks the devil into drinking too much vodka and then deserts the devil, who inevitably comes to claim his soul. In Stravinsky's take on the stories, a soldier trades his fiddle to the devil in return for unlimited economic gain.
Lydia Berger Gray (narrator), Aaron Christensen (soldier), and Alan Ball (devil), the actors who will perform in "The Soldier's Tale," are members of First Folio Theatre, a professional not-for-profit company affiliated with Actors' Equity Association. Now in its 17th year, First Folio has produced more than 50 productions at its home at the historic Mayslake Peabody Estate, ranging from Shakespeare on its outdoor summer stage to world classics and original adaptations on its indoor stage.
Both Mayslake Peabody Estate and Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church are handicapped-accessible and offer free parking.
Prices for Mayslake are $25 for adults, $23 for seniors and $7 for students. For the church concert, tickets purchased before the day of the event are $32 for adults, $30 for seniors and $9 for students. Prices at the door are an additional $5 per ticket.
For details, visit www.elmhurstsymphony.org or call the ESO Box Office at (630) 941-0202.