|Isaac Mizrahi and the cast of Peter and the Wolf at the Guggenheim Museum|
Sergei Prokofiev's 1936 Peter and the Wolf was our very own introduction to classical music and led to a lifelong appreciation. To this day we cannot hear a bassoon without thinking of Peter's grandfather. The iterations of the piece are multiple and we once spent an inordinate amount of time searching for a copy of a jazz/rock version on the Deutsche Grammophon label. We failed.
But we always come to hear Isaac Mizrahi's version at the Guggenheim museum, part of their Works and Process series. The multi-talented Mr. Mizrahi conceived and directed the show, performed the engaging and droll narration, and designed the apposite costumes for the performers.
String players are placed stage right, percussion is stage left, and the wind instruments representing the various characters share the stage with some very fine dancers performing choreography by John Heginbotham. Maestro Brad Lubman conducted the ensemble. The music is tuneful and accessible, not to mention enchanting.
The role of Peter was performed by Macy Sullivan wearing a propeller beanie. Elizabeth Coker made a finely feathered bird, dancing on point with true avian disregard for gravity. Marjorie Folkman lurched around on large flipper feet as the Duck, whilst Kristen Foote exhibited feline friskiness as the Cat.
There was plenty of humor in Grandfather's untimely appearance which was gently remonstrated by Mr. Mizrachi. The role was performed by Guillermo Resto.
But oh, that wolf! Daniel Pettrow was sitting on a park bench, hiding in plain sight behind an open newspaper, waiting for his cue. Never has the French Horn (Tim McCarthy) sounded so menacing! This lupine creature was kind of adorable, even as he terrorized the bird and the cat. He managed to swallow the duck whole but never fear for the tender feelings of your rugrats. She somehow survives and the wolf is taken to the local zoo.
Making an appearance toward the end is the Hunter, in this case, since we are in Central Park, a chubby and somewhat foolish park ranger, played by Derrick Arthur.
We will post a carousel of photos on our Facebook page (Voce di Meche) which will show just how clever Mr. Mizrahi's costumes are.
Musical values were marvelous and our love for the piece has been renewed. There will be several more performances in the upcoming week so grab a kid and take advantage of this enchanting experience. Let it be noted that the many children in the audience were attentive and still in their seats. That alone is quite an accomplishment. We hope the work will have the same effect on them that it did on us when we were that age!
(c) meche kroop