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The Soldier's Tale...

Willy Russell writes new libretto and takes the role of Narrator in new version of Stravinsky's SOLDIER'S TALE.


"A year ago (1991) I asked Willy Russell if he would be willing to narrate this work. He read it and wanted to re-write it. Try to imagine the story to be the negative of an old black and white film - he has taken away scratches, tinted with colour, edited, added sections using video camera and shot events from different angles." KEN JOHNSON

Conducted by Ken Johnston, musicians from the Royal tale cover Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra teamed up with Willy and fellow actors Ian Christian and the (late) Carl Hawkins to present this (literally!) unique event at Liverpool's Philharmonic Hall. Glen Walford was guest director

Representatives of Ramuz (the original Swiss librettist) took exception to Willy Russell's version and refused to licence further performances.

Despite this (and the fact that he'd devoted three months to the writing). Willy Russell says, "I've got no regrets whatsoever. I loved writing it and playing it. Why the Ramuz estate objected was never made fully clear; I did take the narrative in something of a different direction and certainly the verse that I wrote was much more detailed and robust than the (English translation of) original. But as the tale was, anyway, a tale that Ramuz must have taken from the public domain it seemed that I was perfectly at liberty to create my own version. The tale of the soldier and his fiddle is just one of many versions of the folktale in which man makes a pact with the devil - Faust, Everyman, The Devil At The Crossroad etc.

After the objection however I decided to just leave it at that. It was something I really enjoyed but not something that I was prepared to fight about."